Have you been arrested or even just questioned by the police for a drug related crime?

Many people make a big mistake. They think that just because they are innocent, they don’t need the best criminal defense lawyer.

The Court system is designed to be “adversarial.” This means the District Attorney represents the government, not you. He has no obligation to tell you if there are holes in his case or weaknesses in the evidence. If the police violated your rights or made mistakes, the DA won’t tell you that a motion to suppress evidence or even to dismiss the case is appropriate.

The Judge can’t take sides, so he or she can’t tell you what to do either. The only person in the system who is on your side is your defense attorney.

So YES, you do need a lawyer. You should also know that if you let the Judge appoint the Public Defender, then the Judge must order you to reimburse the county based on your ability to pay.

You will be ordered to appear in Court and waste many hours away from work and family. In addition, the Public Defender is under a lot of pressure to get rid of cases. They work for the government just like the District Attorney. We don’t have that pressure and so we can do whatever is best for you.

Our goal is to get the case dismissed or reduced. No one can predict the future, but we have a lot of success stories and just a few of them are on our web site. If you don’t hire us, you will never know if your case could have been dismissed or reduced.


The consequences of any conviction can be life changing. Depending on the charge, you can face significant time in custody. If you are not a citizen, you can be deported, even if you are a “Lawful Permanent Resident” and have a “Green Card.”

For some drug offenses, there can be a ban on owning or possessing firearms and ammunition if you are deemed to be a narcotics addict. (This consequence is very tricky. The rules under state law are different from the rules under Federal law.)

If you have a drug conviction, you might not be able to rent housing or obtain certain professional licenses, such as nursing or other medical related fields.


Each case is unique, but there are two sides to every story. Attorney Mark Cantrell has licensed private investigators who will perform an independent investigation to find evidence to help you.

Depending upon the circumstances, a motion to exclude evidence may be appropriate.

An example might be where the police search your car without permission and no exception applies. Here is an example of an improper search.


Or suppose you are at someone else’s house, the cops come to do a probation search relating to that person. Can they search you just because you happen to be there? This case says there are limits.


If the evidence is excluded, it is likely the case will be dismissed.

Pre Trial Diversion

For simple possession first offenders, we can often obtain a diversion program pursuant to Penal Code section 1000. Under this program, you never actually plead guilty and following successful completion of drug diversion, the charges are dismissed, leaving no criminal record for most purposes.

See California Code, Penal Code - PEN § 1000

California’s Proposition 36

California Proposition 36 is defined in Penal Code sections 1210-1210.1 and in 3063.1 PC (as it relates to individuals on parole). It is similar to PC 1000, and is a drug diversion program, but there are significant differences.

Proposition 36 requires a guilty plea, after which the defendant is placed on probation and subject to a variety of additional terms and conditions.

Upon successful completion of PC 1000 pretrial diversion, the charges against the defendant are automatically dismissed. In a Proposition 36 case, on the other hand, the judge has the discretion to determine whether or not to dismiss the charges.

In summary, PC 1000 is a better form of drug diversion for a defendant who has a choice.


Many people are surprised to learn that the police are allowed to lie to the suspect in an attempt to obtain a confession or incriminating statements. This is just one more reason it is foolish to talk to the authorities. If you are under investigation call us immediately so we can protect you.

Sometimes the police will do what is called a “ruse phone call.” The alleged victim will call you on the phone and make statements about what happened and try to get you to make admissions. Do NOT talk to the alleged victim or to anyone else about the case. The police are recording the call and many times defendants will say something just to try to smooth things over and those statements will later sound very incriminating.

Mark Cantrell is well known in the Riverside criminal defense community as a trial attorney with many successful cases to his credit. When you visit his office, he will be proud to show you newspaper articles about his cases - not paid advertisements.

The biggest mistake an accused person can make is to retain an attorney who does not do trials. The District Attorney has no reason to compromise and give you a break if your attorney is known as a “plea bargain” attorney.