Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney (2022)

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  • Protect Your Freedom Today by Calling
  • Facing a Drug Possession Conviction in Orange County?
  • What Is the Punishment for Possessing Drugs in OC?
  • How Are Juveniles Charged?
  • Explaining California’s Drug Diversion Program
  • Defending Your Drug Possession Charges
  • Contact Law Office of Michael L. Guisti Today

Protect Your Freedom Today by Calling (888) 478-8999

Have you been charged with drug possession? Unsure of what steps to take next? At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we can help you through the process and work to get your charges reduced or dismissed. No matter what the circumstances are surrounding your case, we are prepared to handle your charges.

With years of experience in criminal defense, our Orange County drug crime lawyer provides aggressive and fierce representation. Make sure you retain the right attorney for your case by calling on our firm today! We have a proven record of success and know how to defend our clients against even the toughest prosecutors. Call our office today at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 to schedule a free consultation.

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Facing a Drug Possession Conviction in Orange County?

A drug charge, no matter how minor, has the potential to ruin future employment prospects, damage relationships, and scar a permanent record. As liberal as California is, our state still follows many of the laws created during the War on Drugs, which classified certain drugs as controlled substances and placed them into federal Schedules. These Schedules range in severity from Schedule I drugs, which include heroin, to Schedule V drugs, which include certain prescription medications that have medical uses. If you have a prescription for one of these controlled substances, then you cannot be charged with possession.

(Video) Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney

Over time, California has attempted to decriminalize, and even legalize, certain drugs. For example, it is legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana or eight grams of concentrated cannabis. However, if you are caught with more than the legal amount, you can be charged with misdemeanor drug possession or intent to sell, if the police suspect you of illegally distributing drugs.

Despite recent changes in our state laws, Orange County prosecutors can still pursue harsh penalties for people caught violating California Health and Safety Code §11350(a).

Specifically, the law prohibits the following:

  • Prescription drugs (without a valid prescription) such as OxyContin, codeine, and Vicodin
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Marijuana (if you are under 21 years old, or in large quantities)
  • Heroin
  • Meth
  • LSD

In order to prove you "possessed" a controlled substance, the District Attorney must be able to show that, first, you knew of the drug's presence, and second, you knew of its nature as a controlled substance.

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What Is the Punishment for Possessing Drugs in OC?

Possession is considered a wobbler in California, meaning you can face either a misdemeanor or felony charge depending on the seriousness of your crime. For first-time offenders found in possession of heroin, the charge may only be a misdemeanor, and the defendant may be eligible for a drug diversion program. However, if you have a prior conviction or were found with a large quantity of drugs, then your charge could be increased to a felony. It is also possible for individuals younger than 18 in possession of marijuana to be charged with an infraction, while anyone between the ages of 18 and 20 can be charged with a misdemeanor.

(Video) Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney John D. Rogers

Depending on the factors surrounding your case, you could face the following penalties:

  • Misdemeanor drug possession: If convicted of misdemeanor possession, you face up to one year in a county jail and a fine of up to $1,000 fine.
  • Felony drug possession: If convicted of felony possession, you may have to serve 16 months, two or three years in a state prison, a $10,000 fine, or felony probation. These charges are usually reserved for individuals who have previously been convicted of a serious felony or are registered sex offenders.
  • Alternative sentencing: With various programs under Proposition 36 and Penal Code 1000, if you could serve your time in a drug treatment program and avoid jail time.

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How Are Juveniles Charged?

California has lighter punishments for juveniles charged with possession. In most cases, instead of facing a criminal court, a minor under the age of 18 will be judged by a juvenile court for simple possession. Juvenile drug cases, while still serious, have lighter sentences for conviction. Possession of marijuana may result in a simple warning, community service, and a rehabilitation program.

If your child has been charged with possession, it is still important to contact an OC juvenile defense attorney to plan your child’s defense. A conviction for possession could impact your child’s academic career, especially if they are interviewing for college and scholarships, are involved in athletic programs, or participate in other academic programs. Our team can investigate your child’s case and push to have the case dropped entirely, ensuring a brighter future for your child.

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Explaining California’s Drug Diversion Program

California has implemented several drug diversion programs over the years as an alternative for individuals who need help dealing with addiction and substance abuse issues, instead of packing them in jail. The two main laws that govern these programs are Prop 36 and PC 1000.

(Video) Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney in Orange County

Under Prop 36, first- and second-time offenders charged with drug possession can enter into a drug diversion program, which may include detox, counseling, and substance abuse education for up to one year, with the possibility of the program extended to 18 months or two years. In order to be eligible for alternative sentencing under Prop 36, you must:

  • Have been convicted with a non-violent drug offense (such as possession);
  • Not have a strike on your record according to the Three Strikes Law;
  • Not have been convicted of a non-drug-related misdemeanor or a felony crime within a certain time; and
  • Not have been accepted to a Prop 36 drug diversion program twice in the past.

Alternatively, you may also be eligible for PC 1000, which allows defendants to enter into a drug diversion program for between 18 months and three years if they:

  • Have been charged with simple possession;
  • Have not been convicted of a serious drug or violent crime; and
  • Have not been convicted with a felony within the past five years.

The OC Health Care Agency’s Behavioral Health Services oversees Orange County’s PC 1000 diversion program. Through this agency, first-time offenders can enter into a 32-hour drug program that includes education and counseling, self-help meetings, and random drug testing with a specific provider. It is important to know that each provider has different rates, which you may be expected to pay, but entry into one of these programs will allow you to avoid jail time and higher court fees.

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Defending Your Drug Possession Charges

While it may seem impossible to fight charges involving drugs found on your person or your property, this is not always the case. Our experienced defense lawyers may be able to build a strong case on your behalf in the face of the toughest evidence.

Some details that may help reduce or dismiss your charges include the following:

(Video) Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Neeraj Singh

  • You have valid prescription
  • There was a very small quantity of the drug
  • You were unaware that you had illegal drugs in your possession
  • The search and seizure was illegal
  • You did not possess enough drugs to use

Under certain circumstances, you might also have a way out of serious drug possession charges through Proposition 47, which reduced certain felonies to misdemeanors.

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Contact Law Office of Michael L. Guisti Today

If you or someone you love has been charged with possessing illegal drugs, you need to contact the legal team at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti. Our lead attorney is a member of the Nation's Top Attorneys, as selected by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, and can provide the rigorous defense you need. We can analyze every piece of evidence against you and build a strong case on your behalf Call our office at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 right away. We offer free consultations and will review your case as quickly as possible.

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Additional Information

Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

(Video) Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney

(714) 530-9690


Do defense lawyers distort the truth? ›

While it is true that defense lawyers occasionally distort the truth, it is also true that prosecutors are equally guilty of sometimes misrepresenting the truth to win a case. Most defense and prosecutorial misconduct is an unfortunate byproduct of the adversarial process.

Should you tell your defense attorney everything? ›

It's almost always advisable to tell your lawyer the whole truth about your case, even if you've committed a crime. Giving your lawyer all the facts helps them craft the best defense by raising reasonable doubt. Even when a client admits guilt, there are usually many mitigating circumstances that can come into play.

How does a defense attorney prepare for a case? ›

A defense attorney gathers information through several means, including: Open and collaborative communication with his or her client to obtain a thorough personal and criminal history and to ascertain the client's mental capacity/state of mind, timeline of the crime, and relationship with the victim.

What is the most common argument of a defense attorney? ›

One of the main arguments that a defense attorney can make in a criminal case is that the defendant did not fully understand the consequences of his or her actions.

Do lawyers know their clients are guilty? ›

Although popular culture may detest the work that criminal lawyers do, the function of a lawyer is crucial in order to maintain justice and ensure fair outcomes for anyone that is facing legal charges. Truthfully, a defense lawyer almost never really knows whether the defendant is guilty or not of the charged crime.

What happens if you tell your lawyer you are guilty? ›

If you tell your lawyer that you are guilty of a criminal offence, they can still represent you. However, if you wish to plead 'not guilty' then your lawyer cannot positively suggest that you did not commit the offence.

What should you not say to a lawyer? ›

Five things not to say to a lawyer (if you want them to take you...
  • "The Judge is biased against me" Is it possible that the Judge is "biased" against you? ...
  • "Everyone is out to get me" ...
  • "It's the principle that counts" ...
  • "I don't have the money to pay you" ...
  • Waiting until after the fact.
Jan 15, 2010

What if a lawyer knows his client is lying? ›

(3) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer, the lawyer's client, or a witness called by the lawyer, has offered material evidence and the lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures, including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal.

Will a lawyer lie for you? ›

In California, the Rules of Professional Conduct govern a lawyer's ethical duties. The law prohibits lawyers from engaging in dishonesty.

What are some ways that a defense attorney can try to establish reasonable doubt? ›

To cast doubt on the truthfulness and reliability of prosecution witnesses, a defense attorney can use any or all of these tactics:
  • Demonstrate bias on the part of prosecution witnesses, who, therefore, may be lying.
  • Expose police mistakes in gathering, maintaining, and testing physical evidence.

What is defense evidence? ›

inquiry shall end with his defence; if he records a written defence, or exhibits evidence, the prosecutor shall be entitled ... case, and may also exhibit evidence to contradict any evidence exhibited for the defence, in which case the person accused. Central Government Act.

What is the primary responsibility of the defense attorney? ›

Defense Attorneys develop relationships with clients as they establish legal needs, provide counsel and help them understand their legal options. They also conduct research, prepare legal documents, and perform other duties to ensure that clients receive the best and most cost-effective legal solutions.

What are three arguments for a valid defence to a crime? ›

The accused can respond and present a defence to the charges. Accused persons can put forth three possible arguments: They can deny that they committed the act, disputing the • actus reus. They can argue that they lacked the necessary criminal intent or guilty • mind, disputing the mens rea.

What are 4 possible defenses of a crime? ›

When it comes to criminal cases, there are usually four major criminal defense strategies that criminal attorneys employ: innocence, constitutional violations, self-defense, and insanity.

What is the standard of proof in a criminal case? ›

The standard of proof in a criminal trial gives the prosecutor a much greater burden than the plaintiff in a civil trial. The defendant must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which means the evidence must be so strong that there is no reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.

Has a defense attorney turned on their client? ›

As long as the communication occurred for the purpose of securing a legal opinion, legal services, or assistance in some legal proceeding, an attorney cannot inform on her client. So a criminal defense attorney cannot reveal what her client told her to law enforcement or the court.

Can lawyers betray their clients? ›

There are some extremely accomplished lawyers who have a reputation for taking cases that appear to be certain losers and turning them into winners. Those lawyers might lose more cases than the typical successful trial lawyer but their reputation will not be diminished. Every trial lawyer loses.

Can a lawyer drop a client? ›

Clients must be given 'reasonable notice', so consider the consequences for the client objectively and refer to it in the notice letter. Lawyers do not need a client who impedes progress to his own trial – but to sack a client in the run-up to trial is a serious matter.

How do you know if your attorney is good? ›

What sort of questions should I ask a lawyer? Ask about the lawyer's experience and areas of practice. How long has the lawyer been practicing law? What kinds of legal problems does the lawyer handle most often?

Should you be honest with your lawyer? ›

The best strategy for someone facing criminal charges is to follow the lead of an experienced, trusted criminal defense lawyer, and no matter, to be truthful with that lawyer. An attorney who has your best interests in mind will advise you regarding the possibilities and your best course of action.

Can you tell your lawyer everything? ›

Different attorneys have different opinions on what they want their clients to tell them about the case. Most (but not all) criminal defense attorneys want their clients to tell them everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly—because an attorney cannot defend against what he or she does not know.

Can a lawyer force you to answer yes or no? ›

Short answer: If you ask the question carefully, you can absolutely compel a witness to give a yes or no answer, although usually only on cross-examination.

How do I know if my lawyer is cheating me? ›

Dennis Beaver
  • The attorney does not return phone calls in a reasonable amount of time, and;
  • In a meeting with the client, if the lawyer is being very short, taking phone calls, trying to re-schedule, not giving enough time to the client, does not listen, ignores what is asked or is not answering questions.
Nov 28, 2015

What is it called when a lawyer doesn't do his job? ›

Legal malpractice is a type of negligence in which a lawyer does harm to his or her client. Typically, this concerns lawyers acting in their own interests, lawyers breaching their contract with the client, and, one of the most common cases of legal malpractice, is when lawyers fail to act on time for clients.

What is unethical for a lawyer? ›

Charging excessive fees, refusing to give the client his or her money, stealing the client's money, or misplacing the client's money are clear indicators of an ethics violation.

How do you spot a liar in court? ›

First of all, liars have difficulty maintaining eye contact with the person asking the questions. If the witness looks up at the ceiling while thinking of an answer, or looks down at the floor, they are liying every time. When a witness covers his mouth with his hand, he is about to lie.

How do you defend someone you think is guilty? ›

My answer to "how do you defend someone you think is guilty"

Are lawyers rich? ›

Most lawyers earn more of a solid middle-class income," says Devereux. You probably will be carrying a large amount of student loan debt from law school, which is not at all ideal when you're just starting out in your career. "Make sure you only become a lawyer if you actually want to work as a lawyer.

How do you prove a case beyond reasonable doubt? ›

It is not necessary for the accused person to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt or in default to incur a verdict of guilty. The onus of proof lying upon the accused person is to prove his case by a preponderance of probability."

How hard is it to prove beyond a reasonable doubt? ›

This would be impossible, as only a witness to a crime can declare with absolute certainty that something occurred. However, the prosecutor must convince the jury that, after considering all the evidence, there is only one conclusion and that is that the defendant is guilty.

How do you make a strong defense case? ›

5 Important Steps to Building a Strong Criminal Defense Case
  1. Provide a Compelling Approach That Controls the Narrative of the Case. ...
  2. Develop a Relentless Approach to Collect Evidence. ...
  3. Exhibit a Deep Knowledge and Understand of the Law. ...
  4. Stand Aggressively and Fight. ...
  5. Gain Leverage & Secure a Win.
Feb 15, 2022

What is not accepted by the courts as evidence? ›

Hearsay evidence generally is inadmissible unless it falls within an exception or exclusion set out in the Federal Rules, a federal statute, or a Supreme Court rule.

Is a witness statement enough to convict? ›

What is reassuring for defendants is that whilst a signed statement from a complainant is enough for a charge, it is not necessarily enough to secure a conviction. The complainant must be able to convince the jury or magistrates that the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

What is needed to prove guilt? ›

In other words, the jury must be virtually certain of the defendant's guilt in order to render a guilty verdict. This standard of proof is much higher than the civil standard, called “preponderance of the evidence,” which only requires a certainty greater than 50 percent. Related Terms: Preponderance of the evidence.

What is considered reasonable doubt? ›

A reasonable doubt exists when a factfinder cannot say with moral certainty that a person is guilty or a particular fact exists. It must be more than an imaginary doubt, and it is often defined judicially as such doubt as would cause a reasonable person to hesitate before acting in a matter of importance.

What happens with most complaints about attorney misconduct? ›

What happens with most complaints about attorney misconduct? The complainant receives a settlement.

What percentage of felony defendants Cannot afford to hire a lawyer? ›

In the last year for which the Bureau of Justice Statistics published detailed figures, more than 80 percent of felony defendants charged with violent crimes in the largest U.S. counties could not afford to hire attorneys; the same was true for 66 percent of such defendants in U.S. district courts.

What is an excuse in criminal law? ›

A type of defense that exempts the defendant from liability because of some circumstance, but does not actually condone the result that flowed (at least in part) from the defendant's actions.

What is entrapment in criminal justice? ›


Entrapment is defined as a situation in which a normally law-abiding individual is induced into committing a criminal act they otherwise would not have committed because of overbearing harassment, fraud, flattery or threats made by an official police source.

What is an excuse based defence? ›

(e.g. self-defence) Excuse: a criminal act is excused where the accused would have committed an undesirable criminal offence, the punishment for the offence would be morally inappropriate due to the extenuating circumstances. (eg. offences due to mental infirmities, duress).

How do you argue in criminal cases? ›

The Art of presenting Arguments in Court | Sumit Chander | LawSikho

What are the 5 affirmative defenses? ›

Self-defense, entrapment, insanity, necessity, and respondeat superior are some examples of affirmative defenses. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 56, any party may make a motion for summary judgment on an affirmative defense.

What are grounds for justification? ›

Self/private defence is a ground of justification. If someone acts in self/private defence, his/her conduct is lawful - and cannot attract liability. Other grounds of justification include consent and necessity (also known as duress).

What is strong evidence in court? ›

Strong circumstantial evidence that only leads to one logical conclusion can sometimes become the evidence the court uses in reaching belief beyond a reasonable doubt to convict an accused. It requires assumptions and logical inferences to be made by the court to attribute meaning to the evidence.

What is considered sufficient evidence? ›

Sufficient evidence is admitted evidence that has enough overall weight, in terms of relevance and credibility, to legally justify a particular conclusion. Sufficient evidence to support the legitimacy, effectiveness and necessity of the measure to achieve a specific health outcome.

How convincing is the evidence presented? ›

Under the clear and convincing standard, the evidence must be substantially greater than a 50% likelihood of being true. In a criminal trial, clear and convincing is less strict than the “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” standard, which requires that evidence be close to certain of being true.

Do lawyers tell the truth all the time? ›

Lawyers must be honest, but they do not have to be truthful. A criminal defence lawyer, for example, in zealously defending a client, has no obligation to actively present the truth. Counsel may not deliberately mislead the court, but has no obligation to tell the defendant's whole story.

Do lawyers want to know the truth? ›

Different attorneys have different opinions on what they want their clients to tell them about the case. Most (but not all) criminal defense attorneys want their clients to tell them everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly—because an attorney cannot defend against what he or she does not know.


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