California drug charges that can result in prison time

prison timeFacing drug charges in California is serious business. You can end up with prison time for a lot of drug crimes. The two basic drug crimes there are consist of possession and possession with the intent to sell. California law carries high penalties, and tends to sentence prison time to many cases, despite overcrowding in the prisons. Prosecutors go after drug crimes with zealous. That is why it is so important for you to hire a great criminal defense attorney. Your freedom hangs in the balance, and you want to be sure to minimize the penalty you get to keep you out, or get you out of jail quicker.

There are many situations in which you may get caught with illegal drugs. Maybe they were not yours. Maybe you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe you repent your ways and are ready to reform. The law looks to reform, and with the help of a good lawyer, you can show this to a judge or jury to help minimize your sentencing.

Drug possession law

The state divides up listed illegal drugs into Schedules, which help set out the penalties for possession. Here is a quick synopsis of the schedules. As a reminder, speak to a lawyer about your case, because although very similar, different states schedule some drugs differently.

LawsSchedule I are the most dangerous drugs. They have no legitimate medical uses. These are drugs that are always illegal, such as LSD and heroin.

Schedule II drugs may have some legitimate medical uses, like opium, cocaine, and methadone.

Schedule III substances are slightly less dangerous, but there is some risk of abuse. Anabolic steroids and testosterone fit into this.

Schedule IV drugs have very acceptable medical uses with some risk of dependency, like tranquilizers and sedatives. Prescription drugs generally fall under this category.

Schedule V drugs are those like Tylenol laced with codeine, and have low risk of dependency.

The lower number schedule drugs you get caught with, the higher your chances are at prison time.

Possession vs. Possession with the intent to sell

In California, you must have drugs under your control. There is a wide range of situations that this can fall under, such as in your pocket. The thing many do not understand is that the drugs do not have to be on your person to be within your control. They can be in a drawer in your room, or the glove box of your car, and they will still be considered to be under your control.

Possession with the intent to sell offenses ( carries higher penalties, as it is a more severe crime. For your situation to rise to that level, it will depend on the amount of drugs under your control, and the situation surrounding the time of apprehension.

Marijuana – the new exception

Marijuana leaf on a white background
Marijuana leaf on a white background

Until recently, possession of marijuana was considered a felony. Now it is considered a misdemeanor, and therefore does not carry prison time. If you have less than one ounce, you are likely to be fined one hundred dollars with a ticket. More than one ounce is a misdemeanor charge with a potential of six months in prison, with a five hundred dollar fine.

However, if charged with the distribution of marijuana, this can bring you two to four years in prison, as this is a more serious offense. Growing marijuana carries a felony charge with sixteen to twenty six months in prison. But with the right defense attorney, you may be able to avoid some jail time, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Other drug possession

Any other drug on the schedule list is considered a felony. This brings a higher risk of prison time. If found in possession of drugs such as:

– Heroin

– Cocaine

– Ecstasy

– Meth

– Prescription drugs not being used for medical purposes

California law does not prescribe sentencing guidelines to judges. Therefore, the judge can determine how much prison time you will get for your crime. Many things can play into this decision. Contact a good criminal defense attorney to make sure you are defended to the highest extent.