Does California have a statute of limitations for drug related offenses? If so how long is it?

Asked over 2 years ago - La Jolla, CA

A potential client asked me whether he could be prosecuted in California because he used to sell cocaine and marijuana. He said he wasn't involved in heavy trafficking of any sort, but was just a local street dealer trying to make some extra cash. He said it has been about 3 months since he last sold any drugs and he no longer sells or is involved with it. If arrested for any reason could he face possible charges from past sales of drugs? Is there a statue of limitations regarding how far back charges can be given for selling drugs, if at all?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Kenneth Lance Rogers

    Contributor Level 7


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The statute of limitations on felony sales charges is generally three years from date of incident.

    Law Offices of Lance Rogers, APC | (619) 333-6882 | | 835 Fifth Ave., Ste. 307, San Diego, CA... more
  2. David Philip Shapiro


    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Refer your potential client to a locally experienced CRIMINAL DEFENSE attorney.

    Law Offices of David Shapiro 3555 4th Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 295-3555
  3. Andrew Michael Limberg


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The normal statute of limitations for such an offense is three years. Nevertheless, you should refer the client to a criminal defense attorney. Most defense attorney's provide free consultations.

    Law Office of Andrew Limberg, APLC 380 S. Melrose Dr., #329 Vista, CA 92081 (760) 806-4381
  4. Amber H Lunsford

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Given the seriousness of drug charges, your potential client should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney, or if you are a licensed attorney, you should be associating with one as part of fufilling your duty to provide competent counsel.

  5. Michael J Silveira


    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unless he was unfortunate to be part of some sort of police sting during his last few months selling, he will likely not be charged, ever. Even if someone snitched on him now or in the future, the physical drug evidence is probably "up in smoke" by now. It would be difficult to prosecute and convict someone for petty drug sales with no physical evidence of the drugs. To be safe, he should still consult with an attorney, as the penalties for drug sales can be severe.

  6. Joseph A Lo Piccolo

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . They can go back at least 3 years depending on the evidence they have.

    I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The above information is not a... more

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