There are four schedules of drugs. Schedule 1 drugs, according to the DEA, have no medical value and are highly addictive; they include cocaine, heroin, designer drugs and marijuana. Schedule 2 drugs include prescription pain killers, such as Vicodin and Oxycodone. Schedule 3 drugs include Codeine and anabolic steroids, and Schedule 4 drugs include Xanax and Ambien. The schedules are just to divide up what the government thinks are the more serious drugs in terms of potential for abuse.
How Is Someone Charged With A Drug-Related Offense In California?
Someone doesn't actually have to have it on their person to be charged with possession. If it's in their home or their car, it becomes Constructive Possession: you might own it and have it located somewhere else or give it to someone else, but it's still yours, so possession can be very broad in terms of what it means. Usually, that's the way it is. People who are arrested for sale usually sold to an undercover agent, and then they are arrested.
Does A Trafficking Charge Only Apply To High Level Cartels And Things Of That Nature?
No, it could be on a much smaller level. Trafficking meth is probably the most commonly trafficked drug because meth is one of the more easy ones to manufacture. That's one of the reasons why you see a lot of it. It's also, in my opinion, one of the most insidious; it's bad physically, as well as mentally, and it's not a good drug. When I have a meth client, I do whatever I can to make them understand what they are doing to their bodies and to their minds. Other drugs that carry higher penalties or just as much penalty are not as physically or mentally destructive as meth, but it's so easy to make it, and that's why you see so much of it.
Can Police Officers Execute A Warrantless Search If They Suspect A Drug Offense?
Generally, no, they need a warrant. There are exceptions to the warrant requirement, however. The most common one is consent: somebody will give them consent to search their car or their house, and the other exception would be a search incidental to an arrest. For instance, if you are arrested for a DUI, the police can, after the arrest, search your vehicle without a warrant, as a search incidental to an arrest, to look for fruits of the crime, so to speak, so they can look for any alcohol and any drugs, which gives them broad authority to look almost anywhere in your car.
Most people, though, are intimidated into giving consent. The question of consent is fuzzy: is it natural consent or is it a coerced consent, and is there actual probable cause for the arrest? If there is no probable cause for the arrest, then they can't get a warrant. But there is what's called exigent circumstances where the evidence might be destroyed before they can get a warrant. But what police will do is attempt to get the person to give their consent to search.
A search incidental to an arrest doesn't mean that if a person is arrested on the street and drugs are found, the police have the right to go in their home and search, either with or without a warrant. They probably couldn't get a warrant for that unless they have some other independent evidence that there were drugs on the premises at that particular time. Usually, the police will say, “Well, he gave me consent,” and that's mainly where the argument comes down to, whether they actually give consent and was it a real consent or coerced.
Can A Passenger Be Charged With A Drug Offense If Drugs Are Discovered In The Vehicle?
Yes, they can be charged with it. There might be a problem convicting them; but if there are two people in a car and they find drugs under the seat, sure, both parties can be charged. The police have to prove that it was yours, specifically: if you were the passenger, who's the registered owner of the car, where was it found in the car, was it under the driver's seat or the passenger's seat? But if the person who is driving the car does have the drugs and will admit that they're theirs and not the other person's, usually only one person is charged.
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