Drug Crimes - State and Federal

If you have been arrested or charged with a drug offense in the Joshua Tree area, contact attorney Joseph T. Rhea. Attorney Rhea has been working in the Joshua Tree area courts for seven years and has defended hundred of drug possession and sales cases. He is well-known as a friendly and aggressive defender of his clients in both state and federal court. Some of his recent successes can be viewed in Past Results.

The vast majority of drug cases are resolved in state and federal court through a motion to suppress the evidence (called a Penal Code Section 1538.5 Motion in state court). Attorney Rhea will carefully review all discovery with you and subpoena helpful witnesses. If needed, a knowledgeable expert will re-evaluate the state or federal government’s test results to determine accuracy.

Call Joshua Tree Criminal Defense Attorney Joseph T. Rhea at (760) 327-3711 to schedule a free consultation.

Drugs such as Methamphetamine, Marijuana, Heroin, Crack-Cocaine, Cocaine, Oxycodone, Valium, etc., are all examples of “controlled substances.” Some of these are legal to possess with a doctor’s prescription, but completely illegal to possess without a prescription. (California Health & Safety Code Section 11350) Adding to the confusion, marijuana is legal (for card holders) to possess in California, but not on federal land.  Since much of the Joshua Tree area is federal land, may people get charged in federal court for conduct that is not illegal off of park land.

Individuals arrested for possession of a controlled substance on state or private land in California are often eligible for drug diversion (Penal Code 1000) or drug treatment (Prop 36). The exact same crimes, committed on federal land, have vastly more severe consequences. Commonly diverted drugs in state court include peyote, mushrooms, MDMA (ecstasy), heroin, and cocaine. By contrast, in federal court, possession of these substance can easily result in a criminal conviction, jail time, and federal probation. Drug diversion follow an arrest for possession is not an automatic right (as in state court), but rather something that must be negotiated with the United States Attorney.

Call Joshua Tree Criminal Defense Attorney Joseph T. Rhea at (760) 327-3711 to schedule a free consultation.

By far the biggest confusion surrounds marijuana. In California it is completely legal to possess marijuana for personal use if you are are Medical Marijuana Patient. However, California MMP status does not convey any right to possess marijuana on federal land. Possession of even small quantities of marijuana on federal land is still a misdemeanor, and it is prosecuted. This disparity between state and federal law becomes extreme in cases of marijuana cultivation. Individuals caught cultivating 100 or more marijuana plants on California state land will often assert the defense that they were growing for a lawfully constructed California medical marijuana collective. That defense does not exist in federal court, and an individual arrested with more than 100 plants is facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison. California law also allows for the diversion of illegal grows if it is found that the grow was for personal use. Again, there is nothing remotely like that in federal court.

If you’ve been arrested for a drug offense, Joseph Rhea is here to help you. Attorney Rhea is well-known as a friendly and aggressive defender of his clients in both state and federal court.

California Health & Safety Code Sections

More information about specific California Health & Safety Code Sections:

California Health & Safety 11350 — Possession of a Controlled Substance
California Health & Safety 11351 — Possession for Sale
California Health & Safety 11352 — Transportation or Sale 
California Health & Safety 11357 — Possession of Marijuana
California Health & Safety 11377 & 78 & 79 — Methamphetamine
California Health & Safety 11358 — Cultivation of Marijuana
California Health & Safety 11359 — Possession of Marijuana for Sale
California Health & Safety 11360 — Sales or Furnishing

California Health & Safety11362.5 — California Compassionate Use Act
California Health & Safety 11550 — Under the Influence


Call Joshua Tree Criminal Defense and DUI Attorney Joseph T. Rhea at (760) 327-3711 to schedule a free consultation.