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California Health and Safety Code Section 11364 HSC: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia

California Health and Safety Code Section 11364 is a code that states that it is illegal to posses any device or paraphernalia used for the unlawful injecting or smoking of a controlled substance. One exception to this rule is possessing hypodermic needles. However, this exception is only granted if the hypodermic needles are given to you by a pharmacist or a doctor and are for personal use. Forms of paraphernalia that are not exempt from persecution are heroine, stimulants, opiates, PCP, crack pipes, depressants, hallucinogens, cocaine or methamphetamine. If you are found with any of these substances, you will face criminal prosecution. The only people who will not face criminal prosecution if found with these substances are podiatrists, doctors, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, police officers, retailers and manufacturers.

What Are the Potential Penalties for Violating Section 11364?

The penalties for violating California Safety Code Section 11364 will vary. For example, someone with a prior criminal history may face a more severe punishment than someone who is committing their first offense. Having said that, you will typically experience no more than 6 months in county jail or a $1,000 fine. However, you may also experience penalties when it comes to the workplace. This could mean anything from a convenience store employee getting fired to a professor losing their teaching license.

Ways to Legally Defend Yourself Against Section 11364

While a California Safety Code Section 11364 conviction can be very detrimental to your life, there are numerous ways to defend yourself against a conviction. In order to protect yourself against a conviction, your attorney will try numerous defensive tactics to prove your innocence. The first defensive tactic against a California Safety Code Section 11364 conviction is to try to prove that you were unaware of the paraphernalia. In order to try to prove you were unaware of the paraphernalia, your attorney will have to try to convince the jury that you were oblivious to the paraphernalia. Some examples of your attorney trying to convince the jury that you were unaware of the paraphernalia is by saving that the jeans you were wearing, that were found with cocaine in them, weren’t yours, the heroine found in your kitchen was your roommates or that the PCP found in your glove compartment was your last passengers. Another defensive tactic against California Safety Code Section 11364 is to try to prove that the paraphernalia isn’t actually paraphernalia. While this can be a tough sell to a courtroom, it is still a viable tactic. Some examples that could be used to convince a courtroom that your paraphernalia wasn’t actually paraphernalia is to say that a pipe, thought to be used for drugs, was actually being use for tobacco or that a certain tool was being used for prescription drugs instead of illegal drugs. The next defensive tactic against California Safety Code Section 11364 is to convince the jury that you didn’t know the paraphernalia was paraphernalia. Although this tactic can be extremely hard to use if you have a past criminal history, first time offenders may be able to get away with it. That being said, it will only work with things that are fairly subjective. For example, your attorney won’t be able to convince a jury that you were unaware that your methamphetamine was methamphetamine. However, your attorney may be able to convince a jury that your were unaware that it was illegal to have a certain pipe. This is because a pipe can have multiple uses and they aren’t necessarily related to any illegal substances. The fourth defensive tactic against California Safety code Section 11364 is to say that you weren’t the one controlling the paraphernalia. This is very similar to the first tactic, only that this tactic requires you to not be in direct possession of the paraphernalia. This means that if police were to find opiates at your house, your attorney would try to convince the jury that the opiates came from somebody else. You could also use this tactic if the paraphernalia was found in your garage, storage shed or a jacket that is not being worn. The last defensive tactic against California Safety Code Section 11364 is to try to convince a courtroom that a search and seizure was performed illegally. In order to do this, an attorney would have to prove that the entire reason for searching the defendant was unjust. These reasons could be pulling the defendant over for speeding while the defendant was driving at a reasonable speed, searching the defendant’s house without having a warrant or arresting the defendant for public intoxication even though the defendant was sober.


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"Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them..."

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