In the fall of 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed a new bill (Assembly Bill 721) into law that modifies the definition of drug transport in California. This will have an effect on what drug crimes someone can be charged with and the possible sentencing they face. It will make it more likely that drug users will qualify for court-ordered drug treatment.
In general, if someone is caught with illegal substances, such as ecstasy, heroin, or various prescription drugs for which they don't have a valid prescription, they will likely be charged with drug possession in violation of Health & Safety section 11377. In addition, if they're found carrying these drugs while traveling from one place to another (whether by foot, bike, car or any other means of transportation), they could be charged with transporting the drugs in violation of Health & Safety 11379, a felony that often results in harsher sentencing.
The revision to the law will make it more difficult for prosecutors to bring charges of transporting drugs. A drug transport charge will be brought against individuals if it's a case of transporting with an intention to sell, and not simply in cases where people are traveling with drugs they intend to use personally.
How may this revision to the law help you if you're facing certain drug crimes?
- Prosecutors may be less likely to charge someone with transporting drugs.
- Even when prosecutors do level this charge, they'll have to bring more proof that the intention really was to sell the drugs.
- A number of individuals may face sentencing and other penalties that are less harsh; this could mean fewer years or months in jail, and fewer fines paid.
- The already overcrowded prisons may see less of an influx of nonviolent offenders who only wish to use illegal drugs, and not sell them or participate in other illegal activities in connection with them.
This relatively minor revision to the law is part of a growing shift in attitude towards drug crimes, with an increasing number of lawmakers realizing that overly harsh penalties ruin people's lives and overburden the prison system. However, any drug crime is still a very serious charge and requires the best legal representation.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for possession of drugs in Temecula, Murrieta, Hemet, Menifee, Wildomar, Perris, Banning, Lake Elsinore, Corona or Riverside, contact us to ensure that you're treated fairly by the legal system and are able to fight for the best possible outcome for your case. We can help!