If authorities have recently charged you with a drug-related crime, your mind may still be reeling. Understandably, you may want to understand how the charges came about, the specific allegations brought against you and what you can do to defend against them in hopes of working toward an agreeable outcome.

The desire to want this information could help you immensely throughout your case. After all, if you face cocaine-related charges in California, you are in a serious legal predicament. Fortunately, the information relating to your situation could help you find the best ways to handle your case.

Possession of cocaine

If police consider you in possession of cocaine, they suspect that you have the substance on your person or possibly in the near vicinity. The type of charge that results from this scenario could either fall into the category of a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on certain factors, such as how much of the substance police discovered. If the court convicts you of cocaine possession, you could face up to three years in prison.

Sale or distribution

If authorities suspect that you participated in the sale of cocaine or had the intention of selling the drug, the charges become more serious as do the possible penalties. For example, you could face two to four years in prison if convicted of possession of cocaine for sale. The possible consequences also increase if police believe you sell to minors, within 1000 feet of a school, or on the grounds of a school, religious building or youth center.

Trafficking

Cocaine trafficking is the most serious of these three mentioned charges, and if the court convicts you of transporting or importing cocaine, you could face three to five years in prison. If the trafficking takes place from county to noncontiguous county, the sentencing could be three, six or nine years in prison.

Defense

Understanding the type of charge you face may help you as you work to create your defense. For instance, you may have the ability to argue that the police officers acted inappropriately or that they conducted an illegal search and seizure. You could potentially also indicate that the substance belonged to another person or that police entrapped you.

The right defense option for your case may depend on many seemingly minor details, which is why it is important to discuss your case with someone well-versed in defending against drug-related crimes. Speaking with a California attorney may work in your best interests.