How Many Different Drug Crimes Exist in California?

In California, there are three main categories of drug crimes that someone could be charged with. These are drug distribution, drug possession, and drug cultivation and manufacturing.

What Are the Different Drug Crimes and Laws in California?

  • Drug distribution. The drug distribution laws in California help to criminalize the selling, transporting, transferring and importing of any controlled substances. Drug distribution and trafficking is a felony and a more serious crime than drug possession. The punishment for distribution depends on the number of drugs involved, the drug types, the location of the distribution area and if minors were targeted or involved. Your defenses include being able to prove it was for possession only or entrapment.
  • Drug possession. This drug crime includes both simple possession and possession with intent to sell. Your drug possession charges will also differ depending on if the drugs were narcotics or if they were marijuana-related. If you are charged with narcotic/controlled substance possession, you could be facing a misdemeanor charge with up to one year in county jail. Marijuana is legal in California as of January 1. Recreational users, however, still have to follow the provisions under Proposition 64.
  • Drug cultivation/manufacturing. Under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, manufacturing of a controlled substance can be punishable by a felony sentencing. Your conviction can result in a heavy fine and state imprisonment. The penalties for cultivating marijuana without obeying state laws will depend on your age and whether you have prior convictions. Possible defenses could be your age, medical necessity or that you have a state-issued license for manufacturing marijuana.

If you have been charged with a California drug crime, then it is crucial that you speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson today for a free consultation or for more information on California drug crime penalties.

What Are the Current California Drug Possession Laws?

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.