Under California state law there are two categories of drug possession: simple possession and possession with the intent to sell.
Classifying the Type of Drug
The California Health and Safety Code also separates marijuana offenses from offenses that relate to “narcotics” or “restricted dangerous drugs.” California law has also established separate offenses for phencyclidine (PCP) and methamphetamine.
Defenses to Charges of Drug Possession
If you have been charged of drug possession, there are a few defenses you and your attorney can employ, including:
- Medical necessity
- Prescription has been issued by a doctor
- Unlawful search that resulted in seizure of drugs
- Problem with lab analysis results
- Entrapment or improper police conduct
Penalties and Sentences for Drug Possession
Penalties for drug possession are dependent on the type of drug, the amount of the drug, and the defendant’s intended purpose for that drug. The range of penalties scales from imprisonment in county jail for up to one year to imprisonment for a range of two to five years. If a prosecutor charges the defendant with possession as well as transporting a controlled substance from one country to another, the defendant can be punished with imprisonment in county jail for up to nine years.
Laws Governing Marijuana
California laws governing marijuana possession are different and have different penalties. Generally, a defendant in possession of less than 28.5 grams (one ounce) of marijuana that is not concentrated cannabis can face a fine up to $100. There are additional fines if you are in possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, or if you are in close proximity to a school. If it’s believe you have the intention to sell, the crime might be prosecuted as a felony. This means you could face imprisonment of sixteen months to three years.
Source: FindLaw, California Drug Possession Laws, 2014