What Are the Current California Drug Possession Laws?

Picture of Juvenile Behind Bars

California is regarded as one of the more liberal states when it comes to drug possession, but it still has a few strict regulations. It is a state that allows widespread and legal recreational and medical marijuana, so there are some blurred lines when it comes to what is still legal and illegal throughout the state. As a California citizen, it is important that you know the current drug possession laws, so you can avoid being prosecuted and facing harsh penalties.

What Are the Drugs I Could Be Found Illegally in Possession of?

First, it’s crucial that you know what the definition of possession is. Possession of a controlled drug and/or substance is when you have drugs under your control. This applies when you have the drugs in your pocket or on your person, but it also applies if the substance is not on you. If drugs are found in your car, on the sidewalk next to you, or in your home, you could still face a drug possession charge.

Under the state’s Health and Safety Code Section 11350, almost all possessions of a controlled substance are considered misdemeanor charges. These controlled drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms
  • Meth
  • Prescription drugs, including narcotics and painkillers

Misdemeanor offenses mean you are at risk for more than a year of jail time. However, these charges could also be considered felonies, depending on the amount of drugs found and other key factors based on the circumstances at the time of an arrest.

What Are the Drug Possession Laws for California?

  • Proposition 47: Passed in 2014, this law reduced simple drug possession arrests from possible felony charges with state prison time to misdemeanor offenses.
  • Proposition 36: Passed in 2000, this law is intended to save California money and to keep people out of prison for minor drug offenses. If you qualify, you will be required to participate in drug rehab instead of jail time.

Our criminal defense attorneys at Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson will represent you in criminal court for any drug possession charges you are facing. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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