Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Drug & Weapon Possession in Los Angeles

Posted on: May 12, 2009 at 12:14 p.m.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys represent many individuals who are facing drug possession charges as well as weapons possession charges. This delicate area of the law requires a competent Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who knows and understands the laws involved. High-profile cases involving drug possession in Los Angeles may get a great deal of interest, but for the people involved the consequences are very real.
Tina Fortenberry, receptionist to singer and actress Barbara Streisand, was recently arrested on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu for drug possession of both cocaine and methamphetamines, as well as possession of a weapon. Malibu police initially pulled Fortenberry over for expired license plate tags, then found the weapon and drugs when they approached her car. The weapon reportedly found in Fortenberrys car was a sap, which is similar to nunchakus. Fortenberry was reportedly on her way to the post office with some mail for Streisand when she was stopped. No date for Fortenberrys arraignment has been given.
Drug possession and weapons possession charges may sound relatively harmless, but Los Angeles law enforcement takes them very seriously and a conviction on either charge can land you in jail. Possession of drugs and weapons can, under Los Angeles law, be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of each case. In general, people tend to think of weapons possession charges as involving an actual firearm, but in reality there are many, many types of weapons where possession would constitute a criminal offense. Illegal weapons in Los Angeles include knives, daggers, brass knuckles, nunchakus and many other martial arts weapons. Technically, even everyday items such as a box cutter or car keys can become deadly weapons if you use them to harm someone. As is the case with actual firearms, possession in the proper context and with the proper documentation is legal and allowable.
Depending on Fortenberrys criminal record, her weapons possession charge will most likely be considered a misdemeanor offense. If she is convicted, she will most likely face a fine and potentially up to one year in a county jail. In this case, the drug possession charges are more likely to land her in jail if she is convicted. In Los Angeles, drug possession of most illegal drugs is considered a felony, with the exception of smaller amounts of marijuana, which is often a misdemeanor criminal offense. Assuming Fortenberry was driving in her own car and not one provided by her employers, the prosecution will have to prove that she knew the drugs were in the car, which is not always as easy as it may seem. If convicted of drug possession, Fortenberry may be able to take advantage of Los Angeles Proposition 36, which allows first or second time non-violent drug offenders to complete a specified drug treatment program instead of serving time in a county jail.
Dealing with drug and weapons possession charges can be complex and stressful, given the potential consequences.

If you have been charged with either drug or weapons possession, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today to begin preparing your defense.

Tagged as: counterfeit goods pc 350, drug crimes defense


Vincent Palladino on June 12, 2009 at 6:51 p.m. wrote:

As I said in a different post, the marijuana law reform in California has been a hot topic for discussion lately. Backers of the Control, Regulate and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, the first major statewide initiative designed to legalize marijuana for personal use, say they are preparing to get the issue on the November 2010 ballot. The initiative backed by TaxCannabis2010.org would legalize up to one ounce for personal possession by adults 21 and older, and would allow cities and counties the option of regulating and taxing it. Adults would be allowed to grow marijuana in a space no larger than 5 feet by 5 feet. In addition to the ballot initiative, San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s bill in the state legislature would regulate marijuana like alcohol. Under Ammiano’s plan, marijuana would be taxed at $50 per ounce and bring an estimated $1 billion annually into the state.

Leilani Materon (UCLA) on June 11, 2009 at 3:56 a.m. wrote:

In the war against drugs it is encouraging to see that legal professionals have a greater stake in prosecuting offenders. Had it not been for the 'plain view' clause that permits officers to seize evidence even if it is not what they intentionally sought the outcome of this case could have been entirely different. When weighing the protection of society against leniency towards the offender, it is important that the law affords protection to possible consequences, that is equally applied to future outcomes (under the influence of drugs Fortenberry could have caused grave consequences). I think it's important to apply a blanket policy towards drug possession--- that is, I do not think that marijuana should be considered somehow less harmful. To offer leniency towards certain drugs while imposing harsher sentences on others is an injustice to the legal system because it does not invoke the deterrent effect it should.

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