In the State of California, there are two main categories of drug possession charges. These categories include simple possession and possession with intent to sell. The California Health and Safety Code distinguishes offenses related to possession of marijuana from those involving narcotics or other drugs considered restricted and dangerous. Under California law, there is also a distinction between offenses related to phencyclidine and methamphetamine.

If you have been charged with either simple possession or possession with intent to sell, contact California attorney Johann Hall. Attorney Johann Hall has successfully handled many cases involving drug possession charges in California. It is important to have an attorney with experience with these charges on your side to handle the defense of your case.

California Proposition 64—Adult Use of Marijuana Act

In 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, which decriminalized recreational marijuana use. Under this new law, adults aged 21 or older have the ability to possess, purchase, and consume up to a limit of 28.5 grams of marijuana (or 8 grams of concentrated marijuana). The purchasing, possession, and consumption are limited to one’s private residence or an establishment that is licensed for the consumption of marijuana. It is still illegal in public locations.

Penalties for Drug Possession Charges

The State of California passed Proposition 47 in 2014. Proposition 47 changed the state’s sentencing structure for drug possession charges, making many of these offenses punishable as misdemeanors. Additionally, people who were currently in state prison for drug possession charges gained the right to petition the court for resentencing under the new law. Under the new law, possession of many controlled substances are charged as misdemeanors only. These misdemeanor convictions may result in up to a one-year sentence in county jail.

Possession of Marijuana

If you are convicted of possession of over 28.5 grams of marijuana, you are subject to a fine of $500 or less, and/or up to 6 months of county jail. If you are convicted of possession of fewer than 28.5 grams and are 18 years old or younger, you may be required to take a mandatory drug education class and complete community service. Although possession of eight or fewer grams of concentrated cannabis is legal if you are convicted of possession of over eight grams, you may be required to pay a fine of up to $500 and may be subject to incarceration for up to one year.

Possession with Intent to Sell

Under the California Health and Safety Code, it is a felony to be in possession of controlled substances for the purpose of selling. Some of these substances include illegal drugs, like meth, heroin, and cocaine. Additionally, it is also illegal to possess legal prescription drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone for the purpose of selling these drugs.

Penalties for a Conviction of Possession with Intent to Sell

Possession of a controlled substance with an intent to sell is a felony in the State of California. A controlled substance can be defined as any drug or chemical whose possession, use, and manufacture are regulated under the United States Controlled Substances Act. If you are convicted of possession of a controlled substance with an intent to sell, you may be sentenced to probation and/or anywhere from 1-4 years in county jail. You may also be subject to a fine of up to $20,000.

California’s Drug Diversion Program

Pursuant to the California Penal Code 1000, a person who is arrested for drug possession of a controlled substance may be able to take part in a drug program rather than be sentenced to jail. Many times, someone arrested for possession of a controlled substance has a problem with addiction. In the interest of deterring the behavior in the future, it may be more beneficial for someone with an addiction to enter into a drug program rather than go to jail. In order to be eligible for this program, the defendant must meet the following conditions:

  • Cannot have a prior offense related to controlled substances on his/her record
  • The defendant’s record cannot reflect a revocation or parole or probation
  • The offense cannot involve violence
  • No felony convictions in the last five years prior to the current offense.

It will still be up to the state to decide whether the drug diversion program is appropriate from case to case. However, this is another reason why it is crucial to hire an attorney with experience in drug possession cases. If you have been charged with possession or possession with intent to sell, call California attorney Johann Hall today at (707) 360-8717 to get started defending your case.