Possession of Methamphetamine – Health and Safety Code 11377(a) HS
California Health and Safety Code 11377(a) HS defines the crime of possession of methamphetamine. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecutor must be able to prove several specific factors that are commonly known as “elements of the crime.”
For example, a few of the factors includes that:
- you knew the nature of the substance and;
- it has to be a usable amount.
This blogs reviews Health and Safety Code Section 11377(a), which is the California drug crime of methamphetamine possession.
Other statutes deal with the possession for sale and transportation of methamphetamine which typically carry more severe penalties.
California Proposition 47
Before Proposition 47 was passed by California voters, possession of methamphetamine was a felony level drug crime that could include being sentenced to time in state prison.
After Prop 47 was passed, most Health and Safety Code 11377(a) methamphetamine possession cases are now charged as a misdemeanor crime.
However, there are still situations where they can be filed as a felony offense.
Methamphetamine has many names, such as:
- crystal meth, and
Controlled substance are drugs that are manufactured or possessed and they are regulated by the Controlled Substances Act.
In order to provide more useful information about the California drug crime of possession of methamphetamine defined under HS 11377(a), our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are reviewing the law below.
What Factors Must Be Proven for a HS 11377 Conviction?
The prosecutor must be able to prove all the crucial factors in order to obtain a conviction for possession of methamphetamine defined under Health and Safety Code 11377.
These factors are commonly known as the “elements of the crime” and listed under CALCRIM 2304 Jury Instructions:
- Defendant was in possession of methamphetamine;
- Defendant knew the substance was methamphetamine, and
- Defendant knew of the substances presence;
- There was a usable amount of methamphetamine.
It should be noted that “possession” can occur in the form of actual, constructive, or joint possession. In simple terms, this means you could unlawfully possess meth if you just had control of the drug or shared with others.
Also, based on the elements of the crime, if you didn't know you had meth, or didn't know it was a controlled substance, you should be able to avoid a conviction.
Related California Drug Offenses for HS 11377 Meth Possession
Health and Safety Code 11350 HS – Possessing a Controlled Substance
Health and Safety Code 11351 HS – Drug Possession with Intent to Sell
Health and Safety Code 11352 HS – Transport or Sell a Controlled Substance
Health and Safety Code 11378 HS – Meth Possession for Sales
Health and Safety Code 11379 HS – Sales or Transportation of Meth
Health and Safety Code 11383.5 HS – Possessing Materials to Manufacture Drugs
Penalties for Possession of Methamphetamine
There are situations where violating HS 11377(a) can be filed as a felony offense.
If convicted of a felony Health and Safety Code HS 11377(a) offense, the penalties include:
- 16 months, two years, or three years in the California state prison;
- a fine up to $10,000.
If convicted of a misdemeanor offense for possession of meth, the penalties include:
- up to one year in the county jail,
- a $1,000 fine, or both.
Possession of large amounts of meth
It's worth noting that while most possession of meth charges are now filed as a misdemeanor crime, possession of large amounts of methamphetamine could result in severe prison sentences.
For example, if it can be proven you were in possession of more than one kilogram of methamphetamine, you could be sentenced to an additional three to fifteen years in prison above the normal sentence.
The penalties for a Section 11377(a) violation vary with the amount of methamphetamine possessed.
In cases of substantial possession, over one kilogram for example, there are potentially very long prison sentences associated with a conviction.
Diversionary sentences for possession of meth
If you are a first-time offender, there are many types of diversionary sentences. These include Proposition 36, drug court, and deferred entry of judgment described under California Penal Code 1000.
These type of drug crime sentences will typically give you the opportunity to earn a reduction in the charges or dismissal after successful completion of drug treatment and counselling.
For most first offenders, these diversionary sentences are the best option as it allows them to keep a clean criminal record and receive drug treatment for an addiction at the same time.
How Can I Fight HS 11377 Possession of Meth Charges?
If you were charged with violating Health and Safety Code Section 11377(a) HS, possession of methamphetamine, our Los Angeles criminal lawyers will review the details of the case in order to determine by how to fight the charges. Some common defenses include:
- illegal search and seizure;
- meth belonged to another person;
- you were not aware of it's presence.
We might be able to challenge the legality of the search and seizure. If police were acting without a valid search warrant or had no warrant, the prosecutor will need to demonstrate the seizure of the narcotics was lawful.
There are drug crime cases where we can seek to suppress the methamphetamine as evidence based on the grounds it was only discovered in violation of your Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Perhaps we could make a reasonable argument that the meth belonged to another person and you were not aware of its presence, but it should be noted knowingly possessing meth that belongs to someone else is a violation of Penal Code 11377(a) HS.
Contact Cron, Israels & Stark If Charged with a a Drug Crime
If you have been accused of violating California Health and Safety Code 11377(a) HS, possession of methamphetamine, contact our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers to review the details.
We may be able to get the charged reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed.
Also, our experienced team may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor during prefiling to avoid the formal filing of criminal charges.
The details matter and an effective strategy for best outcome will always depend on the circumstances on your case.
Cron, Israels & Stark is a criminal defense law firm located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025.
We also have an office at 401 Wilshire Blvd #1200, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
Call our office for a free case consultation at (424) 372-3112.