Felony Possession for Sale Results in Just Four Months Jail Time
Felony Possession of Marijuana For Sale
No State Prison - 4 months Jail
Needless to say, this was my client's third time being arrested for possessing marijuana for sale in two years. Prior to meeting my client, he had been convicted of possessing for marijuana for sale in one of his previous two arrests. The other case hadn't been charged yet due to the fact that the arresting officer was temporarily off duty due to a medical leave. When I met my client he was represented by the Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office in his most recent case, as well as, the violation of probation that he was facing for his previous conviction. My client was in custody and neither he nor his parents were satisfied with where his defense was going. My client was facing six years in state prison on his two cases. At first blush things weren't looking too hot for my client. He was caught by the police with three-quarters of a pound of marijuana (3/4 lb.) in his closet, scales, a whiteboard that had names and dollar amounts by the names, as well as, text messages reflecting requests for marijuana and prices.
However, this case reflects the importance of having an attorney who is a Constitutional Law Junkie like me. Based upon case law, I felt like the search was unlawful here because the police had an arrest warrant for an individual who used to live in the house, but they did nothing to verify that the person to be arrested still lived there. In fact, the police were informed by the residents upon breaking down the door that the subject they were looking for had left over two weeks prior. Thereafter, the police discovered that my client was on search and seizure as a condition of probation and headed to his room where they found the above-mentioned evidence. I argued to the D.A. and the judge that the police lacked the requisite probable cause that they needed to enter the home under a California Supreme Court case called People v. Jacobs, (1987) 43 Cal.3d 472. Without saying that I was right, the D.A. agreed that if I didn't file a motion to suppress evidence that he would strike my client's allegation of suffering a prior sales conviction (i.e., Health and Safety Code § 11370; probation ineligible) and agree not ask for state prison, as well as, never to file charges on my client's case where the officer was on medical leave. Given the exposure he was facing, my client was thrilled and he was out of jail in just four months.