Drug Possession in Orange County
Have you been arrested or charged with possession?
Have you been arrested for drug possession? You may face felony or misdemeanor
charges depending on the circumstances. Either way, you will need an aggressive
Anaheim drug crime attorney on your side. The Law Office of Barney B.
Gibbs provides defense representation for individuals arrested or charged
with the following drug possession crimes:
- Being under the influence of a controlled substance
- Possession of methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, etc.
- Possession of marijuana (may only be charged as an infraction)
- Possession of medical cannabis or drug without a valid prescription
- Possession with intent to sell
Drug possession can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, which means
it is a "wobbler" in the state of California. All drugs crimes
are aggressively prosecuted in Orange County, so if you have been arrested,
ensure that you have a lawyer you can trust in your corner.
Types of Drug Possession Charges & Penalties
In the state of California, drug possession charges can range in severity
based on three major factors:
- Quantity of the controlled substance
- Type or "Schedule" of the controlled substance
- Any prior offenses/convictions
If this is your first arrest for a possession-related offense, according
to § 11377 of the California Health and Safety Code, "Any person
who…unlawfully possesses a controlled substance specified in subdivision
(f) of § 11056, and who has not previously been convicted of a violation
involving a controlled substance specified in subdivision (f) of §
11056, is guilty of a misdemeanor."
Most simple possession offenses are charged as misdemeanors in California.
California drug laws can be confusing and they are constantly changing.
For example, possession of a methamphetamine for personal use can either
be a misdemeanor or a felony, but possession of heroin or cocaine for
personal use is always a felony. Recently, with Senate Bill 649 passing,
individual jurisdictions in California have greater flexibility with drug
charges and sentencing for possession-specific
drug charges. For a more thorough explanation of your charges and California drug law,
contact The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs for a free consultation.
Actual, Constructive and Joint Possession
There are three classifications of possession in the state of California:
Actual Possession: This means that, by way of a search/seizure, law enforcement found a controlled
substance on your person (i.e. pockets, purse, etc.).
Constructive Possession: This type of possession means that, while the drugs were not on your physical
person, they were discovered in a place that you own/have control over
such as a car or a house.
Joint Possession: This can involve the actual or constructive possession of a controlled
substance that is shared by two or more parties.
In order to be convicted of any class or type of possession charge, the
state must prove that you had knowledge of the drug's presence, there
was enough of the drug for use as a controlled substance and knowledge
that the substance was illegal.
Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance
California has a law specifically against being "under the influence"
of an illegal controlled substance that is found in the Health and Safety
Code § 11550. This is a
misdemeanor offense that can warrant 90 days to one year in jail. In order to prove that you
were under a drug's influence, a law enforcement officer may require
that, after a lawful arrest, you submit to a blood or urine test. If you
are "under the influence" of a drug, consequently it is assumed
that you possessed and used the drug of your own volition.
Possession for Sale
Under the California Health and Safety Code, possession with intent to
sell an illegal narcotic is a more serious possession offense than possession
for personal use. This is a
felony offense in California. Possession for sale can result in lengthy prison sentences
and thousands of dollars in fines. Those facing possession for sale convictions
are not eligible for drug diversion. A person might be charged with possession
for sale if,
- You possessed large quantities of the drug (more than would indicate personal use)
Drug paraphernalia was also found/seized such as:
- Packaging materials
- Large amounts of cash
If you have been arrested for this serious felony drug offense, contact
an Anaheim drug lawyer at this firm as soon as possible. We may be able
to get your possession for sale reduced to a lesser drug charge or even
Drug Diversion Programs: CPC 1000
There is good news for those who have been arrested for their first drug
offense in the state of California. In California, there is something called a
drug diversion program or "Deferred Entry of Judgment" (DEJ) which could help
you avoid formal penalties and a conviction. In order to qualify for the
DEJ or a similar program under California Penal Code (CPC) 1000, individuals
must prove that they meet certain standards. Those can include proving
simple possession rather than possession for sale. The simple possession
charge may also not involve any violence or assault (threatened violence).
The way DEJ works is that the person charged for drug possession must agree
to plead guilty to this offense. Pleading guilty might sound negative,
and in many cases it is, but a guilty plea by someone who qualified for
DEJ might mean that their conviction never becomes final. The "deferred"
in Deferred Entry of Judgment means that the conviction is suspended until
the completion of a drug diversion program. If the individual who pled
guilty successfully completes an approved drug diversion program, then
the sentencing will never take place. On the other hand, if someone qualifies
for DEJ but fails to successfully complete the program, they will likely
be arrested and then sentenced for drug possession.
Aggressive, Experienced Defense Counsel
If you would like to learn more about drug possession charges and the defense
that is available to you, reach out to an Anaheim criminal attorney as
soon as possible. Drug possession offenses are also time sensitive, and
it is best to involve an attorney early on in the case for the best chances
at success. Fight your conviction and
contact our firm today!
Visit some of our blogs for additional information about drug possession:
Is Drug Possession an Indictable Offense?
Felony Possession of Narcotics
Is Marijuana Legal in California?
Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing