Heroin Possession, Sales, and Transportation Defense Attorneys
Representing criminal defendants accused of selling, possessing, importing, transporting, or using heroin in Southern California
As measured by admissions to drug treatment facilities, heroin use in California declined rapidly between 1990 and 2000, when heroin-related admissions leveled off. Heroin deaths increased by 250% between 1999 and 2009, and nearly tripled between 2010 and 2013. San Diego County reports a 10% increase in hospital admissions for heroin overdoses in the first half of 2014 as compared to 2013.
In Southern California, heroin use is growing fastest among young people who live in suburban communities. The recent resurgence of heroin use is being attributed to two factors: a decline in OxyContin abuse due to a reformulation of the drug that makes OxyContin more difficult to misuse and the ready availability of inexpensive “black tar??? heroin as a replacement drug.
If you are addicted to heroin, get help. A number of treatment programs are available in Southern California and, thanks to Prop 47, additional funding for treatment is on the horizon.
You also need help if you have been arrested for a crime involving heroin. Heroin defense attorney Randy Collins has spent years convincing prosecutors and judges that the response to drug crimes should be drug treatment, not incarceration. If you are being prosecuted for the possession or sale of heroin, an aggressive defense by an experienced lawyer gives you the best opportunity to avoid incarceration. To find out how Randy Collins can assist you with a Southern California heroin charge, call (888) 250-2865.
Southern California Heroin
Heroin is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. That means the drug has no medical value and presents a high risk of abuse. Heroin is not legally available to the public, even by prescription.
Heroin is synthesized from morphine, a narcotic that is refined from opium that has been extracted from poppies. At one time, most heroin in the United States came from Afghanistan. The product that is now imported into Southern California is predominantly “black tar??? heroin from Mexico, although some Southern California heroin originates in South America. Black tar heroin is a gummy substance while more refined versions of the drug are white and powdery.
The process of refining black tar heroin is relatively crude. The low cost of black tar heroin reflects the ability of clandestine labs to produce the drug without the expensive equipment that is needed to achieve the purity levels found in white heroin.
Heroin is almost always “cut??? or mixed with another substance to increase the volume that dealers can sell to consumers. Between the time it is imported into the United States and the time it reaches California consumers, heroin may have been cut many times with many different substances.
Heroin is typically injected or “snorted??? (inhaled nasally). Since purity is difficult for heroin users to judge, the risk of an overdose is high. The risk of bacterial infections from injecting the drug, and of contracting AIDS or hepatitis from sharing needles, is also significant. Bacterial contamination is particularly common in black tar heroin.
Defense of Southern California Heroin Charges
The Law Offices of Randy Collins represents individuals who are charged with all California heroin crimes, including:
- Sale, importation, or transportation of heroin. California Health and Safety Code 11352 HS makes it a felony to sell any amount of heroin. The same penalties apply when heroin is delivered to another person, regardless of whether the person who made the delivery is paid or otherwise compensated. Injecting another person with heroin (“administering??? heroin) counts as a delivery to another person. Bringing heroin into California from another country or another state is also a felony, as is transportation of heroin for any distance, regardless of the purpose for which it is being transported. The maximum sentence for any of those acts is usually 5 years in prison, although large quantities and certain criminal records will trigger higher maximums. Transporting heroin across more than two counties increases the maximum sentence to 9 years.
- Possession of heroin for sale. California Health and Safety Code 11351 HS makes it a felony to possess or purchase heroin for the purpose of selling it. When quantities are small, prosecutors usually rely on evidence of past sales, testimony of buyers who have been promised a heroin delivery, or the presence of packaging materials in an effort to prove an intent to sell. The maximum sentence for a violation of 11351 HS is usually 4 years, although large quantities and certain criminal records will trigger higher maximums.
- Possession of heroin for personal use. California Health and Safety code 11350 HS makes it a misdemeanor to possess usable amounts of cocaine for your own use. A usable amount is often a matter of opinion, but it is more than a trace amount. The maximum sentence for personal use possession is 1 year in jail.
- Being or driving under the influence of heroin. If you use heroin, you can be prosecuted for violating Health and Safety Code 11550 if you are under the influence at the time of your arrest. The maximum sentence is 1 year in jail. If you drive under the influence of heroin, you are subject to DUI penalties that depend on your driving record. The loss of driving privileges is one of those penalties.
Defenses to a heroin charge depend upon the facts of the case. Some charges are dismissed because the police seized heroin after conducting an illegal search. Some possession for sale charges result in personal possession convictions because the prosecution cannot prove that heroin was possessed for sale. Other defenses include mistaken identity, false accusation, and lack of evidence to establish actual or constructive possession.
In possession and use cases, it almost always makes sense for the accused to begin treatment while the case is pending. Clients make a better impression upon the court when they clean up their act without waiting to be told to do so. Drug diversion programs and other alternatives to incarceration are often available when an accused is willing to accept the need for treatment.
Choosing the best defense in your case requires the guidance of an experienced drug defense attorney. Recognized as a Top Attorney in Orange County, Randy Collins has years of experience obtaining dismissals, acquittals, and favorable plea agreements in heroin cases. To make an appointment to discuss the defense of your heroin charge in any Southern California court, call The Law Offices of Randy Collins at (888) 250-2865.
We have offices conveniently located in Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Fullerton, as well as Riverside and assist defendants in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County, and Riverside County.