Amphetamines, like the popular medication Adderall, are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the country. Amphetamines operate as a stimulant and can be used for treating conditions like ADHD. While amphetamines are a far cry from illegal narcotics like heroin and LSD, they are still regulated by the same federal laws that regulate common street drugs.
In California, the possession of prescription drugs like Adderall without a valid prescription is treated the same as possessing illegal drugs. Possessing a controlled substance like amphetamines illegally can have serious consequences that can haunt you for the rest of your life. An experienced criminal defense attorney can explain the legal jeopardy you face and help you understand your options. In some cases, a defense attorney can work with prosecutors to have the charges against you dropped completely. If you are facing charges for illegally possessing amphetamines in L.A. County, drug crimes attorney William S. Kroger is here to help.
What are amphetamines?
Amphetamines are a Schedule II controlled substance under federal law and have been since the 1970s. Stimulants can be traced back over 5000 years to ancient China. Amphetamines were first synthesized in the 1880s in Romania. However, they did not develop a reputation for their medicinal effects until the 1930s. While amphetamines were used early on to treat everything from hay fever to Parkinson's disease, the risks of addiction have been well known since the 1930s. By the Second World War, amphetamines were commonly prescribed and used around the world. First regulated as a Schedule III drug, amphetamines were bumped up to Schedule II in 1971.
Effects of Amphetamines
Amphetamines act like a stimulant, providing a burst of energy that many crave. Abusers also seek the euphoric high that is common with abusing amphetamines. They are also useful in treating both attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression. While once frequently prescribed to treat narcolepsy and help with weight loss, medical professionals have recently turned to other options in those cases.
Like most drugs, amphetamines have potential side effects. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
- Erectile dysfunction
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Blurry vision
- Mood swings
Serious side effects are less common for users that follow dosing instructions. However, long-term abusers can face more serious psychological side effects.
Use of Amphetamines
Amphetamines are generally taken orally in a pill form, but they can also be used intranasally and intravenously.
Amphetamines typically take the form of pills. Medications like Adderall and Vyvanse come in pill form and are designed to be taken orally. This is because most amphetamines come in time-release form. Once ingested, these pills slowly release the drugs into the bloodstream over the course of many hours. This allows the effects to last for several hours. However, abusers have found ways around the time-release function.
Oral consumption is the most common way to ingest amphetamines for users and abusers alike. While the time-release function makes taking the drug as prescribed less than ideal for abusers, many will chew the pills up instead of swallowing them whole. Chewing the pills is one way to get around the time-release function and allow abusers to absorb all of the drugs in short order.
Smoking or snorting amphetamines have become two of the most common ways to abuse the drug. To snort it, abusers must grind the pills into powder before inhaling it through their nose. Smoking drugs like Adderall also involve crushing the pills into powder. From there, the powder is mixed with a solution and heated in a pipe or other paraphernalia. Smoking amphetamines can be especially dangerous to your health. These pills come with fillers that were not intended to heat; the drugs can have carcinogenic effects from burning the fillers. Taking the drugs Intranasally is the fastest way to absorb the drugs in the bloodstream.
Some abusers prefer injecting amphetamines into the veins or muscles. While amphetamines do not come in a liquid form like morphine, some abusers will grind the pills into a powder and mix them with a solution. Injecting amphetamines will cause the drugs to reach the bloodstream faster than taking them orally. This method is dangerous, as bits of the pill can get stuck in an abuser's veins or arteries. These blockages can cause serious health concerns or even death.
Amphetamines as a Controlled Substance in California
The federal government determines what substances are so addictive that their possession and sale should be regulated. The drug schedules were created by the United State Controlled Substances Act. According to California Health and Safety Code 11350, it is illegal to possess any controlled substance without a prescription or license.
Unlawful Possession of Amphetamines
The unlawful possession of amphetamines is a misdemeanor under California law. A conviction under California Health and Safety Code 11350 carries a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail. It also carries a maximum fine of $10,000.
While these maximum punishments seem steep, the reality is many convicted of unlawful possession of amphetamines never face jail time. In many cases, first-time offenders are given the chance to enter into a diversionary program. A diversionary program allows you to plead guilty without the judge formally entering the plea as a judgment. If you complete the requirements set out in the diversion program and terms set by the judge, the judge will ultimately dismiss the case without entering a finding of guilt. This will let you avoid a criminal conviction on your record altogether. Diversionary programs aren't available in every case, however. That's where an experienced criminal defense attorney comes in. An experienced attorney will know local court customs and will be able to advise the client on their best options.
Not every instance of possession of amphetamines winds up being classified as a misdemeanor. Felony possession penalties are much tougher than misdemeanor penalties. A conviction for felony possession carries a state prison term of between 16 months and 3 years. You may face felony possession charges if you have certain prior convictions or if you were arrested with unusually large amounts of the drug in your possession.
Prior Criminal Record
There are two separate types of criminal records that will cause a misdemeanor case to become a felony. The first is any conviction for a “serious felony” in California. The second is a conviction of any crime that would require you to register as a sex offender.
“Serious Felony” isn't just a generic term without any specific meaning in the law. California Health and Safety Code 1192.7. Any prior conviction for a crime listed in the statute is charged with a felony. The list includes but is not limited to:
- Voluntary Manslaughter
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Bank Robbery.
Sex Offender Convictions
The other type of previous conviction that can upgrade your misdemeanor possession case to a felony involves sex offenders. In California, certain crimes require a defendant to be entered into the sex offender registry upon conviction. These crimes include everything from indecent exposure to forcible rape. If you have been previously convicted of one of these crimes, you will find your misdemeanor possession charge will automatically upgrade to a felony.
Possessing Large Amounts of Amphetamines
There is another way possession can be a felony crime besides the prior convictions discussed above. If you are in possession of unusually large amounts of amphetamines, you may find yourself charged with possession with the intent to sell. While the prosecutor will usually agree that small amounts of drugs are primarily for personal use, the only likely story regarding possessing large amounts is because you intended to sell them.
Possession with the intent to sell amphetamines is a felony that carries a prison sentence of 2, 3, or 4 years. It's important to note that unlike regular possession cases, diversionary programs are not available to those charged with possession with the intent to sell. It takes skill and experience to show a jury of your peers that you did not possess amphetamines with the intention to sell or traffic them. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to show a jury that you either never possessed the drugs or ever intended to sell them.
Aggressive Amphetamines Lawyer in Los Angeles
Have you been charged with possession of amphetamines or even possession with the intent to sell amphetamines in L.A. County? If so, William S. Kroger is ready to help you defend yourself.
No two cases are the same, and William S Kroger has the experience necessary to defend your rights and help you make educated decisions about your case. William S. Kroger is an experienced criminal defense attorney with years of experience practicing criminal defense law in L.A. County. William understands that the outcome of your case can have an enormous effect on your future. Not only is your liberty at stake, but your ability to obtain housing or employment could be forever altered as well. To discuss your legal options, contact the William S. Kroger Law at 323-655-5700 as soon as possible to set up your free consultation.