Cocaine has been pushed out of the news by the hysteria surrounding methamphetamine and newer designer drugs, but federal and state drug agents, as well as local Riverside and Orange County police officers, arrest users and dealers of powder and crack cocaine every day. The penalties for cocaine crimes continue to be harsh, despite repeated efforts to reform California’s drug sentencing laws.
While some people are able to use cocaine recreationally with little impact on their lives, others are addicted. We would like to see everyone with a drug addiction get help. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system helps drug addicts into prison, unemployment, and a lifetime of misfortune. Even occasional cocaine users find that the criminal justice system has a ruinous effect on their lives.
Whether you are a recreational user, an addict, a dealer who never uses drugs, or an innocent bystander caught up in a drug sweep, an arrest for a cocaine crime exposes you to serious consequences. For offenses in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange County, and San Diego, call The Law Offices of Randy Collins at 888-250-2865 to discuss your cocaine prosecution with an experienced defense attorney.
Powder and crack cocaine
Cocaine comes from coca leaves grown in the Andean region of South America. Coca paste is refined into cocaine hydrochloride, a white crystalline powder (usually cut with other substances) that users typically inhale through the nose.
Using an ordinary flame, cocaine hydrochloride melts before it can ignite and produce smoke. Some cocaine users prefer crack cocaine because it can be smoked. To make crack, powder cocaine is mixed with baking soda and heated in water. When the oily substance that floats to the top is skimmed off and cooled, it takes the hardened form of a white “rock??? that can be smoked in a pipe.
The chemical composition of powder and crack cocaine is virtually identical. Only the delivery system is different. Inhaling powder cocaine produces a “high??? after the cocaine is absorbed in the nasal passages. Smoking crack causes the drug to enter the bloodstream and reach the brain more quickly.
For many years, California law imposed harsher penalties when the crime involved crack cocaine rather than powder cocaine. That continues to be true under federal law, although recent reforms have eliminated some of that disparity. Responding to concerns that the disparity is driven by racism more than sensible policy (given that powder is perceived as a “white??? drug while crack is more prevalent in nonwhite communities), California enacted the Fair Sentencing Act in 2014 to put an end to the crack/powder sentencing disparity.
Unfortunately, while California’s sentencing reform made the law more equitable, it did not address the underlying problem. California still uses the criminal justice system to address a public health problem. Penalties for cocaine crimes continue to be harsh. Cocaine users who need drug counselors find that they have a more urgent need for a drug defense attorney.
Defense of all California cocaine crimes
The Law Offices of Randy Collins assists individuals who are arrested or prosecuted for all California crimes involving cocaine, including:
- Sale or transportation of cocaine. A conviction of selling cocaine carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. Transporting cocaine across more than two counties carries a maximum sentence of nine years.
- Possession of cocaine for sale. A conviction of possessing cocaine with the intent to sell it carries a maximum sentence of four years.
- Possession of cocaine for personal use. A conviction of possessing cocaine for your own use carries a maximum sentence of three years.
- Being or driving under the influence of cocaine. Merely using cocaine subjects you to a maximum sentence of one year. Driving under the influence of cocaine carries additional penalties that affect your driving privileges.
Fortunately, defenses can be raised to charges involving cocaine. Defenses to the charge of selling cocaine include mistaken identity and false accusations made by unreliable witnesses. Charges of possession for sale fail when the prosecution is unable to prove that the accused did not possess the cocaine for personal use. Successful defenses to all cocaine charges are often based on challenges to illegal searches and arrests.
Drug diversion programs and other alternatives to conviction and incarceration are available when the charge involves the use or personal possession of cocaine. In more serious cases, negotiating from a position of strength often results in reduced charges and avoidance of prison time.
Randy Collins has years of experience assisting individuals charged with cocaine crimes. Named as a Top Lawyer in Orange County and praised by peers, judges, and clients, Randy Collins will give your case the individual attention it deserves.
With convenient offices in Newport Beach and Riverside, The Law Offices of Randy Collins is accepting clients charged with cocaine offenses across Southern California, including Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, and elsewhere. To make an appointment to discuss your cocaine charge, call The Law Offices of Randy Collins at 888-250-2865.