California Health and Safety Code §11350 makes it unlawful for any person to be in possession of a controlled substance. Controlled substances are those listed under California Health and Safety Code §§ 11054 and 11055. These sections include the majority of common recreational or “street” drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, certain hallucinogenic drugs and antidepressants. These sections, however, do not include marijuana. Marijuana is covered by California Health and Safety Code § 11357.
Drug possession cases in California are generally charged as a felony, and are not taken as serious offenses by the courts. However, an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney knows that there much leniency for Drug Possession charges. With a powerful argument and the skill of a good lawyer, charges may be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, or in many cases, dismissed altogether.
If the drug allegedly found in your possession is certain types of depressants, the law may be read as a wobbler by the Judge. A wobbler is a law under which a charge may be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case. Prosecutors and Judges will consider the criminal history, if any, and the specific facts surrounding the case to arrive at a determination.
A majority of drug possession cases allow for the completion of a drug diversion program. A drug diversion program involves the completion of drug education and rehabilitation classes. Once the classes are completed to the court’s satisfaction, your case will be dismissed. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney can present persuasive argument in court allowing you to complete a program as a means to getting the case totally dismissed.
Potential sentences for drug possession charges will fall at some point within a range set my legislation. For misdemeanor charges, the range will be anywhere between zero days to a year in county jail and not more than $1000 in fines.
For felony charges the range falls anywhere between probation and a year in county jail, or 16 months to three years in state prison.
There is a lot of room for negotiation and leniency in drug possession cases, especially if it is your first offense. A professional Criminal Defense attorney is familiar with all available defenses and arguments that will help reduce, or even full dismissal of the case.