Drug Possession Law in California - Heath and Safety Code 11350
Drug possession, also known as possession of a controlled substance (Health and Safety Code Sections 11350 and 11377), is a felony offense, although with certain drugs it may instead be charged as a misdemeanor offense.
To convict you of drug possession, the prosecution must prove:
- (1) that you had control over the drug,
- (2) that you knew about the drug,
- (3) that you knew it was an illegal drug, and
- (4) that you had enough of the drug to use.
There are two ways in which you can possess the drug: actual possession and constructive possession. For actual possession, you must have physical control over the drug. For constructive possession, you can have control over it through other people or objects (i.e., you were in your house but the drugs were in your car.)
Typically, if this is your first time offending, you can get a drug diversion program instead of jail time, which is a form of alternative sentencing. It is recommended that you speak with an attorney as soon as you are aware of the investigation into or charges you so that you may discuss the specifics of your cases, possible defenses, and how to achieve the best outcome.
Criminal Lawyer for Any Type of Drug Possession Arrest
The laws involving possession of drugs have been changing regularly over the years and there are various aspects to the possession laws.
For simple possession of marijuana for personal use (under an ounce, or 28.5 grams) you are facing a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $100 fine. For amounts over 28.5 grams the penalties are increased to up to 6 months imprisonment and up to $500 in fines or both.
However, if you are in possession of a controlled substance such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, LSD, meth, ecstasy, and prescription painkillers that one does not have a prescription for, then you are facing felony charges punishable up to 3 years imprisonment.
As long as the possession wasn't sufficient for possession with intent to sell, then you might be eligible for a treatment program in place of prison. Further, you might be eligible for a drug court.
If you are arrested for this type of drug crime, seek legal advice from a qualified Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who can review your case and determine the best avenues for your situation.
Fight your Drug Offense Charges!
As with any crime, there are circumstances and defenses that should be investigated to determine if the police did their investigation correctly regarding the evidence and whether or not the charges are in-line with the actual situation. A qualified and skilled criminal defense lawyer will meet with you regarding the circumstances surrounding the charges.
From there a strategy will be developed and implemented that will help to get the charges dropped or reduced if possible and a solid defense based on the facts will be employed to get you the most favorable results achievable.
Drug possession charges should be taken seriously as they can have an adverse effect on your life. Not only can you go to jail, but this may result in the loss of your livelihood, higher insurance rates and impact you and your family financially.
At Cron, Israels & Stark, we are dedicated to assisting you through this difficult time by providing you with personalized service throughout the course of your case. If you have been arrested for possession of drugs, take effective action and contact a lawyer from our firm for a free consultation and assessment of your case.