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Ketamine is an anesthetic whose legitimate use in the United States is primarily as an animal tranquilizer. The drug’s clinical benefit to humans is thought to be limited although it is occasionally used in medical situations when there’s some advantage to inducing dissociative sedation. Ketamine’s mild hallucinogenic properties have made it a popular drug on the Los Angeles club and rave circuits in recent years.
The federal Controlled Substances Act lists ketamine as a Schedule III drug with some medical usefulness and a low to moderate potential for abuse. Ketamine abuse is addressed under two California statutes. Conviction of a ketamine-related offense could lead to deportation if you are not a citizen of the United States.
If you’ve been apprehended in possession of ketamine, the best way to safeguard the rights to which you’re entitled under the law is to consult with an experienced drug attorney as soon as possible.
California Health and Safety Code 11377 HS
Ketamine is a controlled substance, and in California, it’s illegal to possess a controlled substance in the absence of a valid prescription. It’s also illegal to possess ketamine obtained through the use of another person’s legitimate prescription or to possess ketamine in greater quantities than prescribed in a legitimate prescription.
Ketamine possession is a misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, you could face a $1,000 fine and up to six months in a county jail. However, if convicted, you may be eligible for rehabilitative drug treatment, and if you complete this program successfully, possession charges may be dismissed.
California Health and Safety Code 11379.2 HS
California Health and Safety Code 11379.2 HS covers both possession of ketamine with an intent to sell and the actual sale of ketamine. As with many other controlled substances, intent to sell a controlled substance is a more serious charge than possession. This crime can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or as a felony. In determining what class of crime to charge a defendant with, prosecutors will look at the specific circumstances of the defendant’s case and the defendant’s past criminal history.
A misdemeanor conviction for possession of ketamine with intent to sell carries a sentence of up to one year in a county jail and a $1,000 fine. A felony conviction for possession of ketamine with intent to sell carries a sentence of up to three years in a state prison and a $10,000 fine. If you are convicted under California Health and Safety Code 11379.2 HS, you are not eligible for a drug diversion program.
California Vehicle Code 23152(a)
It’s illegal to drive under the influence of ketamine even if you have a valid prescription for ketamine. The definition of “influence” in this statute, however, refers specifically to the degree to which any impairment may negatively affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Unless ketamine use results in an accident that causes a serious injury or a death, this violation will be charged as a misdemeanor. A violation under this statute may also be charged as a felony if it’s your fourth violation of DUI-related statute within 10 years. Additionally, if someone 14 years of age or younger was a passenger in your vehicle when you were driving under the influence of ketamine, you could be facing a felony charge of child endangerment for which you could be sentenced to up to six years in a state prison.
If you’re facing charges related to ketamine possession in Los Angeles, a drug attorney may be able to explore options that will help ensure the best possible disposition of your case under the circumstances.