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Are you facing charges for drug sales?

At the Castillo Law Office, we understand that charges for possessing drugs for sale are serious. The consequences for possession of drugs for sale include time in prison, county jail, drug treatment, time under house arrest, and registration as a narcotics offender. Alameda County and the other counties in the San Francisco Bay Area vigorously prosecute drug crimes, particularly sales. You need an Oakland criminal defense attorney with particular experience in defending against drug charges.

Oakland criminal defense attorney Ernesto Castillo has handled numerous serious drug sale cases, and is familiar with all of the defense strategies needed to keep you out of jail for drug sales: medical marijuana recommendation, caregiver, collective, suppression of illegally seized evidence, disclosure of informants, illegal wiretap, bad scientific testing, police misconduct, possession of drugs for personal use, rehabilitation, and diversion.

Possession for sale offenses are found in the California Health and Safety Code. Health and Safety Code section 11351 prohibits the possession for sale of numerous narcotic drugs that are classified in Schedules One through Five. Common narcotic drugs include cocaine, crack, heroin, PCP, methamphetamine, and ecstasy. The sale of marijuana is punished separately under Health and Safety Code section 11359. Punishments for selling drugs are severe: for a violation of Health and Safety Code section 11351, the punishment is two, three, or four years of incarceration, and under Health and Safety Code section 11359, the punishment for possession of marijuana for sale is either 18 months, two years, or three years of incarceration. Both sales offenses cannot be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor under Penal Code section 17, subdivision (b). Health and Safety Code section 11352 prohibits the transportation of drugs and has a similar punishment.

What Are the Penalties for Heroin or Cocaine Possession?

Possession of more than a kilo of heroin or cocaine causes even more serious consequences than mere possession for sale. Under Health and Safety Code section 11370.4, punishments can be increased from 3 years up to 25 years for possession for sale of numerous kilos of cocaine and heroin. And while the fine for a violation of possession of cocaine or heroin for sale that is less than a kilo does not exceed $20,000, possession of more than a kilo, depending upon how much, ranges from a permissible fine of $1,000,000 to $8,000,000. Gang enhancements, firearm enhancements, and location near a school enhancements can also increase the possible sentence.

Traditionally, convicted drug offenders, if not granted probation, were sentenced to state prison. That all changed, beginning in 2011. In Brown v. Plata, a federal court found that California prisons were so overcrowded and health services so inadequate that the harsh conditions violated the Eight Amendment prohibition on cruel-and-unusual punishment.

What is Realignment?

Due to the understaffed and overcrowded prisons, the court ordered Governor Jerry Brown to reduce the prison population by tens of thousands, or else the court would do it for him. In response, Governor Brown began shipping inmates to prisons in other states and passed a law known as "Realignment." Under Realignement, most non-strike inmates convicted of felonies serve their sentences at half-time credit in local county jails, not the state prison. Parole violations are also processed in the local courts, and not by the Board of Parole Hearings. What Realignment means is that those convicted of a drug sale offense are eligible for a local sentence served at half-time so long as they have not been convicted of a serious or violent felony under Penal Code sections 1192.7 or 667.5, commonly known as "strikes."

Although drug sale cases are complicated, always carrying a risk of a number of years in custody, there are numerous ways to defend against possession of drugs for sale charges. Experienced Oakland criminal defense attorney Ernesto Castillo will use an aggressive and unique approach to defend your case so that you receive the best possible deal, receive a dismissal, or make an informed decision to take the case to a jury trial.

Contact Castillo Law Office today for a free consultation.

Hear it From A Few
Of Our Clients

  • I can't thank Ernie enough for investing his time and sincere efforts to helping my family out. He truly is a master of his craft.

    “A few years back, Ernie Castillo represented a family member of mine who was charged with a vehicular offense. Although minor compared to the high profile cases Ernie is accustomed to, Ernie took the case with the utmost professionalism and was able to reduce the charge so that my family member's record was not affected. I can't thank Ernie enough for investing his time and sincere efforts to helping my family out. He truly is a master of his craft.”


  • I would highly recommend Mr Castillo to anyone.

    “Mr Castillo represented me on a criminal case in which I was falsely accused in 2012. He took over the case from a previous lawyer who was less aggressive and not actively pursing my defense. Mr Castillo is a confident, aggressive and very persistent lawyer. He kept my family and I up to date on the case and also returned our calls on time. Mr Castillo persuaded me not to take any deal and wanted take the case to trial because he was confident that he would win. With the Lord's guidance and Ernie's aggressiveness my case was dismissed. I would highly recommend Mr Castillo to anyone.”


  • I would recommend Mr. Castillo without any reservation.

    “Ernie Castillo was highly recommended to us. I researched and interviewed a few attorneys before making a decision of who we were going to select. It's so tough selecting when you're skeptical with the horror stories of attorney's not feeling the passion for their work but the money. After long conversations my husband and I decided to go with Ernie to represent our son in a serious case with multiple charges. We were not disappointed at all. Mr. Castillo expertise exceeded our expectations. His was thorough, he kept us up to date on the case, answered all our questions, returned our calls in a timely manner, he's truly a genuine and sincere person. Most of all his knowledge in handling the case was remarkable. I can't express thanks enough to Ernie for the spectacular job he did defending my son who was facing years in jail. He took a stressful situation and relieved it with a positive outcome. I would recommend Mr. Castillo without any reservation.”