Being Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance
California Health and Safety Code 11550 makes it a crime to be under the influence of a controlled substance unless legally prescribed. Those convicted of HS 11550 can be sentenced up to four years imprisonment, but with a skilled attorney many first-time offenders are able to get this reduced to probation or dismissed entirely.What Counts as a Controlled Substance?
- Any illegal drug (Cocaine, Meth, Heroin, etc.)
- Certain prescription drugs without a valid prescription (adderall, oxycontin, xanax, etc.)
- Any intoxicating effects that result from consuming an illicit substance count as being under the influence of the substance.
- This includes effects such as:
- Hallucinations after taking LSD
- Being jittery or excitable after ingesting powder cocaine
- A feeling of detachment or indifference after ingesting xanax (without a prescription)
- Any anticipated or unanticipated effects of a drug willingly consumed
- You can be charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance if your behavior is noticeable as an effect of a certain drug, or if there is evidence that you consumed the substance.
Violation of this statute is a misdemeanor, but repeat offenders or those with extreme circumstances are at risk of harsher punishments.
First time offenders without extreme circumstances risk up to one year in prison or probation up to five years. Repeat offenders can receive up to four years jail time.What Defenses are There for Being Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance?
Possible defenses are:
- You have a valid prescription for the controlled substance
- You did not willingly consume the substance
- You were not aware of the nature of the controlled substance
- You were not under the influence of the substance
If you have a valid prescription:
The law states that anyone under the influence of a controlled substance can be punished by imprisonment unless there is a valid prescription in your name written by a dentist, physician, veterinarian, or podiatrist that is licensed to practice in California.
If you have a prescription for the substance you are being charged with, an attorney can present this documentation and have the charges dismissed.
If you did not willingly consume the substance, or did not know of the nature of the substance:
To be convicted under HS 11550, you must have willingly consumed a substance that you knew to be illicit. This means that if you were forced to take a substance, did not know you were ingesting a substance, or thought you were consuming a different substance, you may not be guilty under this statute.
If you were not under the influence of the substance:
If you exhibited behaviors of a certain substance but did not actually ingest the substance, an attorney can help you prove your innocence by proving that you were not actually under the influence. Officers can sometimes mistake certain behaviors for being under the influence, when that may not always be true.Related Offenses
California Health and Safety Code 11350 - possession of a controlled substance
California Health and Safety Code 11352 - selling or transporting a controlled substance
California Vehicle Code 23152 - Driving under the influence (DUI)
A conviction for being under the influence of a controlled substance can have a huge impact on your life. It can affect your immigration status, your gun rights, or your ability to find a job.
Whether you are wrongfully accused or simply made a mistake, it is vital that you are aware of your options to fight for the best possible outcome given your circumstances. You need an attorney with the expertise and experience to fight for you, and the compassion to keep your goals in mind.
William Kroger has been fighting cases like these for over 20 years and would love to have you as his next client. Don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation.
Contact William Kroger at (323) 655-5700 or online by clicking here.
Again, your initial consultation is free of charge.