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Potential Consequences for a California Drug Possession Case

In today’s world of criminal justice, getting arrested for drug possession can lead to severe legal consequences. As prosecutors look to make examples of one person after another, drug possession laws within the state have left many people facing years in prison for minor offenses. However, while these situations may appear dire, the good news is that there are many California lawyers who specialize in handling these complex cases. If you are facing drug possession charges in California, here are the potential consequences you could face if convicted.

Possession of a Controlled Substance
If a person is facing conviction for possession of a controlled substance, they could be looking at several years in a California state prison. Under California Health and Safety Code 11350, possession of a narcotic such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, crack, or even certain prescription drugs such as Vicodin or Codeine could result in up to three years in state prison. Originally a felony, HS 11350 was changed to a misdemeanor in November 2014 due to the passage of Proposition 47.

Possession for Sale of Narcotics
Considered a more serious crime than simple possession, having possession of narcotics with the intent to sell them to others can result in a much harsher sentence. Known as Health and Safety Code 11351, this crime is considered a felony under California law and does not qualify for Proposition 36 or PC 1000 drug diversion. In these cases, police and prosecutors look at numerous factors such as the quantity of drugs a person possessed, if the drugs were packed in separate baggies, and if there were scales, weapons, or large sums of cash present when arrested.

Sale or Transportation of a Controlled Substance
Under California Health and Safety Code 11352, the sale or transportation of a controlled substance in California is a felony that could result in a minimum of five years in prison. Defined as selling, furnishing, administering, giving away, transporting, or importing into California an illegal narcotic, many of these convictions come as a result of undercover sting operations. However, according to numerous California drug possession lawyers, many convictions in these cases are due to people being entrapped by undercover officers making what are known as “controlled buys,” when in many cases the people convicted of HS 11352 were only buyers or perhaps not even involved in the drug deal in any way.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
HS 11364, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in a county jail. However, for many people convicted of this crime, they may find themselves eligible for court-supervised diversion programs under PC 1000 or Proposition 36. To be arrested for this offense, a person must be found to be in possession of such paraphernalia as opium pipes, bongs, cocaine spoons, or hypodermic needles.

Possession of Methamphetamines
Commonly referred to as meth, crystal meth, or speed, methamphetamine possession is classified as a misdemeanor under Proposition 47. However, while possession of meth for personal use is a misdemeanor, meth possession for sale, transport, or manufacturing is still considered a serious felony that is punishable by 10 or more years in a state prison.

Possession of Marijuana
While more and more states have passed laws making it legal to possess marijuana for personal use as well as to sell to others, California law still considers it a crime for a person to possess, sell, cultivate, or use marijuana. However, Proposition 215 has provided limited exceptions to this law, so it’s best to speak with an experienced drug possession attorney regarding these matters. For those found guilty of marijuana crimes, the good news is that unlike many other drug offenses, the penalties for these crimes are very minor, usually resulting in small fines.

Speak with a Drug Possession Attorney
No matter what type of drug possession charges you may be facing, it’s vital to speak with an attorney who has experience and knowledge regarding these cases. Since many of these cases are often built upon sting operations and the word of so-called informants, it’s quite possible a seasoned drug possession attorney may be able to get charges reduced or even dropped, even in the most serious cases.

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