Traffic stops and cocaine: facts to know

Not only can a drug charge take extensive time and money to resolve; it can begin to place a damper on a person’s life. Most states take cocaine charges seriously, yet penalties have become less severe in the last two decades. However, there are facts to know about such charges in the state. 

Less than two months ago, two Orange County men faced serious backlash after they were arrested after a routine traffic stop. As the Los Angeles Times reported, law enforcement agencies seized 308 pounds — and $8.4 million — in cocaine when the Nissan Versa pulled over during the traffic stop. Later, investigators obtained a search warrant for the home of the suspects, where they found a bunker filled with cocaine. The Times provided little comment on the suspects’ information, as the investigation was ongoing at the time of the report.

While to involve such great amounts of money is a rarer occurrence, instances such as the one previously mentioned happen often: during a traffic stop, an unsuspecting driver receives a hefty penalty. Findlaw explains that, in California, drug crime defendants may have the option of completing a treatment program instead of serving jail time. Defendants with prior records could face 30 to 90 days behind bars instead of receiving felony charges, as well. Although this option is cheaper and can come with much lighter costs, not everyone is eligible, and Findlaw states that a standard penalty for first-time cocaine possession could come with a misdemeanor or a felony and up to three years in prison. When it comes to traffic stops, California residents also have a number of defense options to choose from, and can look to local resources for additional information on overcoming this obstacle. 

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