Drug Possession in California

What Qualifies as Possession?

Whether it’s in your pocket or in the glove box of your car, possession of a controlled substance refers to having drugs under your control. A controlled substance can include a variety of drugs, such as stimulants, depressants, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, opiates, PCP and hallucinogens. Even being in possession of prescription medicine can warrant an arrest if it was illegally acquired.

The three ways possession can be defined are the following:

  • Actual possession – When a controlled substance is on your person
  • Constructive possession – When a controlled substance is found in an area or item which you had some control over, including luggage or closet in your home
  • Joint possession – When you and another person both possessed a controlled substance, such as sharing a pipe filled with crack cocaine

In court, the prosecution must prove that you intended to possess the drug, that your drug possession was not forced upon you or unknown to you, that you coherently knew you possessed a controlled substance and that the possession was voluntary.

Penalties for Drug Possession

Drug possession penalties in California depend on the type of drug, the amount of the drug and the purpose of possession, specifically to use or to sell. Possession of a controlled substance can result in a maximum jail sentence of one year, while possession for sale of a controlled substance may lead to a prison sentence of two to five years. Possession of ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine or PCP, with intent to manufacture either substance, can lead to a felony conviction with a maximum prison sentence of six years.

Since marijuana can be legally used for medicinal purposes, the penalties are not as severe as other controlled substances. If an individual possessed less than an ounce, or 28.5 grams, of marijuana, they could face a fine of up to $100. However, if the amount was greater than an ounce or if you were in possession near a school, then marijuana possession can result in a felony conviction.

Retain Legal Services from a Beverly Hills Drug Attorney

With more than 40 years of experience, I am capable of providing you with an aggressive and personalized defense in order to obtain the results you desire. I will conduct my own extensive investigation into your case and gather the necessary evidence to get your charges reduced, or even dismissed.

Contact me for immediate help with your legal issues.