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Olympic Doping Reminds Us Cases Can Be Closer to Home

The dreams of an Olympic figure skater melted on the ice when her blood sample tested positive for a banned substance.

Kamila Valieva of Russia was heavily favored to win an individual gold medal and had already helped her team win the team gold when news broke of her positive blood test. Much to the dismay of many, the Court of Arbitration for Sport allowed the 15-year-old to continue competing. None of the debates mattered in the end. She led the standings after the short program but had a disastrous free skate, leaving her off the medal podium.

The scandal served as a spotlight on steroid and other performance-enhancing drug use in the United States. The cases here involve everyday athletes at the local gym as well as elite athletes in all levels of sport. Steroid use, sale, and possession are crimes on the federal and state levels.

If you are charged with a steroid crime in the Orange County area, you will need an attorney with extensive experience in defending drug crimes.

Consequences of Doping or Steroid Crimes

California law classifies anabolic steroids as Schedule III drugs. While still a serious offense, schedule III is less addictive and carries lighter penalties than Schedule II or Schedule I (the most serious). In the state’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act, steroids are illegal if they are used without a physician’s prescription or if used in a manner consistent with the prescribed use.

Anyone found guilty of illegal steroid possession faces up to one year in county jail and a fine.

The federal Anabolic Steroid Act of 2004 amended the 1990 law to redefine anabolic steroid “to mean any drug or hormonal substance, chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone (other than estrogens, progestins, corticosteroids, and dehydroepiandrosterone).”

Federal penalties are a maximum of one year in prison and a minimum $1,000 fine for a first offense. A drug trafficking conviction carries a sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Not All Beneficial Supplements Are Illegal

Even in cases where an athlete has a valid prescription, certain substances are still banned in competition. The World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list can be found here. Track athletes, football players, bodybuilders, gymnasts, cyclists, and other athletes should always know what they are ingesting, even if it is given to them by a trusted coach, friend, or mentor.

In a quest to maximize performance, American athletes and fitness aficionados often take supplements. Many of these substances aren’t banned or illegal. These include protein powders, amino acids, caffeine, and creatine. Banned, illegal substances included anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), AAS prohormones, human growth hormone, and stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall.

Alternative to Jail in Drug Crimes

Despite the recent backlash on the “War on Drugs” and other get-tough measures, too many Orange County residents are put behind bars for far too long. This result is more likely to happen without strong legal representation with extensive experience in defending drug crimes.

At Corrigan Welbourn Stokke, APLC, our founding partners are former prosecutors. We know how city, county, and state prosecutors try to build a case. This inside knowledge gives us leverage to fight for your best possible outcome.

When we take on a case, our first goal is generally to have the charges dismissed. Some cases require skillful negotiation for plea bargains that may result in lesser charges or alternatives to jail. As former prosecutors, we will aggressively represent our clients in cases that go before a judge and jury.

Drug diversion programs may be available to help you avoid incarceration:

  • Deferred Entry of Judgment: In this pretrial diversion program, the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, but the judge defers entering the conviction while the accused completes probation and a court-ordered program. Upon successful completion of the program, the case is dismissed.
  • Proposition 36: Eligible offenders can enter a treatment program and receive probation in lieu of incarceration. Unlike Deferred Entry, a judge formally sentences defendants to probation while they complete the program.
  • Drug Court: Similar to Prop 36, the accused are closely monitored and enter a substance abuse program. After successfully completing the program, charges are generally dismissed. Unlike other diversion programs, there is no requirement to plead guilty.

Every case is different and requires a unique strategy to best serve the needs of the accused.

Experience in Defending Drug Crimes

If you are arrested for possession or trafficking of any drug, including anabolic steroids, use your right to stay silent and call us. The sooner we are on your case, the better equipped we will be to build a strategic and aggressive defense strategy.

To speak to one of our attorneys in a free consultation, call (949) 251-0330 or submit this online form.