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New Enhanced Sentencing for Drug Crimes Near Orange County Schools
If you are convicted for manufacturing drugs near an Orange County school, be prepared to serve an even longer prison sentence than you would if the crime was committed anywhere else.
In August 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 212 into law. New Health and Safety Code Section 11379.6 permits judges to tack on up to seven additional years in prison for those convicted of manufacturing or trafficking controlled substances within 1,000 feet of a school.
Section 11379.6 expands upon the sentencing enhancements established in the Juvenile Drug Trafficking & School Yard Act of 1988. Under that Act, additional prison time could be handed down for drug manufacturing or trafficking within 1,000 feet of a school only if the activity was occurring in a public place or business establishment. Health and Safety Code 11353.1 previously provided that:
“Within 1,000 feet of the grounds of any public or private elementary, vocational, junior high, or high school” means any public area or business establishment where minors are legally permitted to conduct business which is located within 1,000 feet of any public or private elementary, vocational, junior high, or high school.”
Recognizing that drug manufacturing activities such as meth labs most often are found in private residences, the new law applies even if such activities occur on private property. Additionally, it adds preschools to the list of schools that are covered by the law.
New Section 11379.6 also adds “aggravating factors” that can be considered by judges in sentencing when methamphetamine is involved. Specifically:
the fact that a person under 16 years of age resided in a structure in which a violation of this section involving methamphetamine occurred shall be considered a factor in aggravation by the sentencing court.
the fact that a violation of this section involving methamphetamine occurred within 200 feet of an occupied residence or any structure where another person was present at the time the offense was committed may be considered a factor in aggravation by the sentencing court.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.