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California Drug Possession Charges and Potential Consequences

California Health and Safety Code §11350 makes it unlawful for a person to be in possession of a controlled substance. Controlled substances are those that are listed by the legislators in California Health and Safety Code §§ 11054 and 11055. These sections do not include marijuana. Marijuana possession is covered by California Health and Safety Code §11357.

To build a case against a person, prosecution uses a totality of the circumstances method. A totality of the circumstances method means that opposing counsel will take the surrounding facts of a person’s arrest to prove that the person was in possession of a controlled substance. For example, if a person is arrested physically holding a controlled substance the prosecutors will use these facts to help build their case. If a person is stopped by authorities and a controlled substance is found in his or her jacket, the prosecutors will have to build a case using the circumstances to show that a controlled substance was found in the jacket, and that jacket indisputably belonged to the person arrested.

Whether a person is charged with drug possession as an infraction, misdemeanor or felony will depend on several different factors. First, on the type of drug they were found with.sIt may be anything from opiates, their derivatives, hallucinogenic substances, certain depressants, to other narcotics and in some cases, prescription drugs. Second, it will matter how much of the controlled substance is found. A greater quantity will lead to a higher potential consequence.

A knowledgeable Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney has handled thousands of drug possession cases involving a range of different controlled substances. They are well versed in different tools used to reduce, and in many cases dismiss, drug charges. Oftentimes, plea bargaining along with a strong argument will persuade prosecution to consider a potential sentence other than jail. Additionally, the case may be dropped if evidence has been obtained as a result of illegal search and seizure.