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State and Federal Criminal Defense Representation
Trusted Defense For Complex Criminal Cases Drug Trafficking

Orange County Drug Trafficking Lawyer

Irvine, CA, Defense Representation for State & Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

Drug trafficking, a serious charge in both state and federal courts, involves the illegal import, export, distribution, or sale of controlled substances. Unlike simple possession, trafficking charges imply a higher level of involvement in the drug trade, typically encompassing large quantities of controlled substances. 

This matter carries weighty consequences for defendants due to the potential for severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences, hefty fines, and a permanent record that can affect future opportunities. 

If you or someone you love is under a criminal investigation, has been arrested, or charged with state or federal drug trafficking charges, seeking the help of a competent criminal defense lawyer should be your top priority.

 At Law Office of Diane C. Bass, you can partner with an attorney licensed to practice in both state and federal courts. Attorney Bass has a proven track record as a state and federal criminal defense lawyer. She is based in Irvine, CA, and represents individuals in Orange County and the surrounding areas. For those facing federal charges, she provides nationwide representation.

Ms. Bass understands the stress and uncertainty of these cases and uses her exceptional capabilities to help clients seek positive results. 

Schedule a one-hour consultation with our Orange County drug trafficking attorney by contacting us online or at (949) 990-4195

Potential Drug Trafficking Charges

The potential charges for drug trafficking can vary widely depending on the specifics of the case, including the type and quantity of drugs involved, as well as the jurisdiction. 

Common charges include:

  • Possession with intent to distribute: Typically applies when an individual is found with a quantity of drugs deemed more than for personal use, indicating intention to sell or distribute.
  • Manufacturing controlled substances: Involves producing illegal drugs, such as methamphetamine, which can lead to trafficking charges if intended for sale or distribution.
  • Transportation and importation: Charges related to moving controlled substances across state lines or into the country, often carrying severe penalties for crossing international borders.
  • Conspiracy to traffic drugs: Individuals can be charged with this if they are believed to be part of an organized effort to distribute drugs, even if they have not directly handled the drugs.

Street Drugs and Prescription Fraud Trafficking

Drug trafficking is not limited to typical street drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine. It also encompasses prescription drug fraud, which is equally scrutinized by law enforcement. 

Instances of prescription fraud often involve medications such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Adderall, which are prescribed for legitimate medical conditions but can be diverted for illicit use and distribution. 

Examples of prescription drug fraud can include forging prescriptions. Fraud can also include healthcare providers prescribing medication in quantities or for conditions that are not medically necessary, intending to sell these medications on the black market. 

Drug Trafficking Investigations

Drug trafficking investigations in California are primarily conducted by state agencies such as the California Department of Justice (CDOJ) and local law enforcement agencies. These entities focus on violations within the state's jurisdiction and apply California's specific drug statutes.

At the federal level, agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) lead the charge. Federal investigations typically involve larger quantities of drugs, interstate or international smuggling, and are governed by the Controlled Substances Act, enforcing harsher penalties than state laws.

The distinction between state and federal drug trafficking charges often lies in the scope of the operation and the quantity of drugs involved. Federal charges can result from larger-scale operations or when the crime crosses state lines, leading to more severe penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences. 

State charges may involve smaller quantities and operations but still carry significant penalties. Understanding the nuances of both state and federal laws is crucial for a robust defense strategy.

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Penalties for Drug Trafficking

The penalties for drug trafficking can vary significantly between state and federal court systems, often reflecting the severity and scope of the offense. Understanding these differences is vital for anyone facing such charges.

At the California state level, drug trafficking penalties depend on various factors, including the type and quantity of drugs, your criminal history, and whether minors were involved or targeted. Convictions can result in sentences ranging from three years to life in prison for large quantities. 

Fines can reach up to $10 million for individuals, with higher penalties for groups or organizations. California also imposes asset forfeiture, where any assets used in or acquired from drug trafficking activities can be seized.

In contrast, federal penalties for drug trafficking are generally more severe, with mandatory minimum sentences for most offenses. For example, a first-time trafficking offense involving significant quantities of certain drugs can lead to a minimum of 10 years to life in federal prison, with the possibility of life imprisonment for higher quantities or if certain aggravating factors are present. 

Fines can exceed $10 million for individuals and $50 million for organizations. Additionally, federal sentencing guidelines apply mandatory minimum sentences. These mandatory sentences reduce a judge’s discretion in sentencing, ensuring lengthy prison terms for convicted traffickers.

Additional penalties, such as supervised release, mandatory drug treatment programs, and community service, may be imposed by courts. The potential for harsh sentencing under federal law highlights the critical need for an experienced defense attorney familiar with navigating both state and federal court systems.

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Trusted By Clients

Reviews & Testimonials
    "She will put your anxiety at ease and get you through the tangled system."
    Diane is the perfect mix of gentle understanding and fierce action you’ll need if you find yourself dealing with the OC court system.
    - Angie T.
    "Whatever you’re going through, I’m confident Diane will achieve the best outcome you could hope for."
    My first impression was that she’s very experienced, no-nonsense, knows the law, how the system works, and was very busy as a result. I quickly realized that she exceeded even those first impressions but also cared very much about my story, needs, an
    - Daniel B.
    "From the start of my case, she has been there for me."
    First of all, I would like to thank Diane for everything she has done for me. From the start of my case, she has been there for me. Only very few people were granted bond and she pulled it off in my case. I know for a fact not too many lawyers could have done that. I am on probation for three years.. while “the others” will not have the chance to raise their children and live their lives. I was headed to prison….I am free.. and for that, I am forever grateful.
    - John H.
    "Diane Bass is a phenomenal attorney."
    After meeting with Diane I felt immediate comfort, and I was sold on the fact that I could trust this amazing person with my life. Diane Bass was there for me every step of the way like no other attorney had ever been.
    - Ryan O.
    "She is not afraid to battle for you. With her, you will never be alone."
    Diane is a brilliant attorney. She listens carefully to your problems and clearly advises you with honesty. She was with me from the first day of my case and I have never been disappointed in any way.
    - Maria K.
    "I highly recommend Diane if you are dealing with legal troubles of your own."
    Since this being my first Federal offense, I had no idea what to expect. I was extremely anxious. After talking to Diane, I felt like she was the attorney I needed to help me get through these challenging times. Her professionalism and knowledge of the law
    - Adam P.
    "Diane’s work is second to none."

    Diane’s work is second to none. I was charged with felony DV, and after working with one firm in Irvine that did absolutely nothing, I did some hard research and found Diane. She worked quickly and diligently and got the case dismissed. I absolutely don’t foresee me needing a criminal lawyer down the road, but if I do, it’ll be Diane hands down!

    - Shadic A.
    "Diane is the most professional, thorough attorney I have ever met."
    Her expertise, connections, analysis, and comprehensive review of my situation were more than I could ever ask. I am extremely grateful and couldn't be happier with my choice!
    - Jeff R.

Why Choose Law Office of Diane C. Bass?

  • Top-Rated & Award-Winning Legal Representation
    We consistently deliver results that exceed expectations, earning the trust of clients and accolades from the legal community.
  • 25+ Years of Criminal Defense Legal Experience
    With over 25 years of criminal defense legal experience, we bring a wealth of seasoned insight and a proven track record of success to every case we handle.
  • Extensive Knowledge & Experience With Federal Cases
    With extensive knowledge and experience in federal cases, we offer comprehensive legal strategies tailored to the complexities of each situation.
  • An Outstanding Reputation Amongst Clients & Peers
    Our reputation among clients and peers alike reflects our unwavering dedication to achieving the best possible outcomes for those we represent.
  • Featured in the Media
    Attorney Bass is frequently featured in media outlets such as The Washington Post, LA Times, ESPN, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and more.
  • Track Record of Success
    With a track record of handling some of the most significant cases in the Central District of California, our firm brings unmatched experience to every client's defense.
  • Selected by Super Lawyers Since 2022
  • Avvo 10.0 Rating
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Top 100 Lawyers

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