Possession of illegal drugs in California can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, which is a more serious charge with greater consequences. Possession of a controlled substance is also known as “simple possession” or “drug possession” in legal terms. It is a misdemeanor under California Proposition 47, the current law that guides charges for possession of a controlled substance. When facing a drug offense in California, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you explore alternatives to jail time, such as drug diversion programs or deferred release of judgment that will allow the charges against you to be completely dismissed.
Due to recent changes in California's felony drug laws, a drug possession charge may have a greater chance of dismissal if an experienced legal defense is available. Laws involving drug possession have changed regularly over the years and there are several aspects to possession laws. Schedule V drugs are drugs that doctors can prescribe to people for legitimate medical purposes, but that are illegal to use or possess without a valid prescription. Possession with intent to sell or federal drug trafficking are much more serious crimes, and a conviction can result in serious jail terms in state or federal prison.
Jail time can be increased if you are charged with drug possession for a felony because of a previous conviction or if you possessed a loaded firearm while you had the drug. As long as possession was not enough for possession with intent to sell, then you could be eligible for a treatment program instead of imprisonment. Illegal possession of a controlled substance is when a person has or possesses a drug or other controlled substance, such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or methamphetamine, without permission or justification. So, if you didn't actually own (which means having the substance at the present time or in your hand) the controlled substance, or even constructively own the controlled substance (which means storing the substance somewhere other than on hand, but still having control over it).
Schedule 2 of the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act defines those drugs whose possession constitutes a felony drug offense. For example, if the police stop you while driving your car and one of your passengers has illegal drugs in his pocket, you can be convicted of transportation charges if the prosecution can prove that you knew your passenger was carrying illegal drugs. If you are convicted of transporting illegal drugs and you have previous convictions for drugs not related to possession, such as possession with intent to sell or previous convictions of transportation, you are subject to a prison sentence of 3 years for each previous drug conviction not related to possession, in addition and consecutively to your new transportation charges. Drug possession, also known as possession of a controlled substance (Health and Safety Code Sections 11350 and 1137), is a felony, although certain drugs can be charged as a misdemeanor.
In addition, in most cases, federal drug offenses include manufacturing, trafficking, smuggling, or importing drugs. There are several avenues of defense that your Los Angeles drug crime lawyer can take if you are charged with drug possession. A drug possession charge can be a misdemeanor in California, but it should never be treated lightly.