The FBI reported an estimated 1.5 million arrests in the United States in 2011. In California, it is illegal to possess, sell or transport prohibited substances under both Federal and state law. Mere possession is enough to get you into legal trouble.
If you are charged with possession of drugs and other drug related crimes, you can face varying degrees of penalties, including jail time and steep fines, depending on the quantity of drugs found on you, and the intent of the possession.
Here in California, it is illegal to possess, sell and transport the following:
- Marijuana or cannabis
- LSD or ‘acid’
- Ecstasy and other ‘club drugs’
As well, certain prescription drugs such as Vicodin and Oxycotin require a prescription for their legal purchase; otherwise, you could be prosecuted for obtaining them.
Defenses in drug related crimes
As an accused or defendant in a criminal case, you have a right to raise legal defenses that can reduce possible penalties or exonerate you of any criminal liability. These defenses are found in statute and case law and are best presented in court through your California criminal lawyer.
- Medical necessity: California Proposition 215 exempts patients and specific caregivers from criminal prosecution for possession and cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Certain conditions must be established for the court to uphold your defense.
- Prescription issued by a doctor
- Unlawful search resulting in seizure of drugs: The fruits of an illegal search (one performed without a valid search warrant) may not be used as evidence in court.
- Problem with lab analysis
- Entrapment or improper police conduct
Penalties for drug related crimes
The amount of jail time and/or fines imposed will depend on the type of drug, quantity and purpose of the possession. Possession with the intention of selling or for the purpose of using substances in the manufacture of PCP or methamphetamine can lead to longer jail time of up to 6 years.