About California Drug Possession Laws
There are two types of drug possession crime in California. Simple possession is as straight-forward as it sounds, when you are simply in possession of drugs found on your person. The second type is possession with the intent to sell, when the defendant is accused of intending to engage in drug dealing.
In addition to these two types of possession, the California Health and Safety Code separates offenses that include controlled substances, otherwise known as narcotics or restricted dangerous drugs, from offenses that involve marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP), and methamphetamine.
Penalties and Sentences for Drug Possession
In California, penalties for drug possession depends on the type of drug found on the defendant, the amount found, and the purpose the drug might be used for. With the recent passing of Proposition 47, if the defendant was found in simple possession of the drug, the crime is considered a misdemeanor, and the defendant will serve time in a state prison for drug possession charges. They may be allowed to petition for resentencing under certain conditions.
However, if they have been convicted of other crimes in the past, they may not be qualified to petition the court for resentencing.
In 2016, Proposition 64 was passed, which decriminalized recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 or over. Adults can now purchase, possess, and consume up to 28.5 grams of marijuana, and possess up to 8 grams of concentrated marijuana in their homes. However, smoking marijuana while driving is still illegal.
What to do if you've been charged with drug possession?
If you have been charged with drug possession, whether it's simple possession or possession with intent to sell, the best thing you can do is seek help from a criminal defense lawyer. Whether you are convicted, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help defend your case before any formal charges are made. They can negotiate on your behalf and protect your rights so that you do not face any unfair penalties.
Because a criminal defense attorney is more experienced in the legal process of drug possession, they can increase your chances of getting a lighter sentence. In addition, they may be able to see certain arguments that are not immediately obvious to you, which will give you a better chance in your case.
Talking to an experienced criminal defense lawyer is easy, and can sometimes be free if the attorney offers free consultations. You will learn more about your case and what you can do to increase your chances of walking away with a lighter charge.