In California, it is illegal to possess a controlled substance/drugs and one may be looking at a misdemeanor or felony, depending on what the substance is.
HS 11350 – Simple Drug Possession – misdemeanor – it is illegal to possess a controlled substance, without a prescription, when you knew of the controlled substance’s presence and nature, and there was a usable amount.
Controlled substances include:
- prescription drugs not prescribed to you (i.e. – Xanax)
Example 1: Randy is in a lot of pain so he asks his grandmother, who has oxycodone, if he can have one of her pills. Randy does not have a prescription. If his grandmother gives him one, even though he is in dire pain, he would be violating HS 11350 because he does not have a prescription for the controlled substance Oxycodone.
Example 2: Sally is in the car with her friend Nix. Nix is snorting cocaine. Nix uses most, if not all, of the cocaine up and some of it gets on Sally’s lap. The police come by and ask Sally about the cocaine on her lap. If the amount is not useable, in other words, Sally cannot collect the cocaine on her lap to ingest, she may not be violating HS 11350.
HS 11350 is a misdemeanor, with punishment in a county jail for up to one year and a maximum fine of $1,000. There is a possibility for someone to get drug court or diversion, preventing one from getting a conviction. It is important to reach out to Kristine Koo if you have a question on how to get your case handled.
(True story – client had HS 11350 for cocaine. DA and Ms. Koo negotiated a plea deal where if client did 30 alcohol anonymous meetings or narcotic anonymous meetings, the charge would be dismissed. The client did the meetings and he is now a happy camper with no conviction).
HS 11351 – Possession of a controlled substance for purpose of sale. This applies to the substances noted above, cocaine, heroin, drugs that were not prescribed to you, for the purpose of sale. This is a felony and carries a potential sentence of 2, 3, or 4 years in custody.
HS 11377 – Simple possession of narcotics, including methamphetamine. This is a misdemeanor and can be disposed of with diversion or a drug court program. This can be a felony, however, if one has a prior conviction for a sex crime or a serious offense.
HS 11378 – Possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of sale. This is more serious than a simple possession of methamphetamine as you are looking at a felony with the possibility of 16, 2, or 3 years in custody.
***How does one know it was not for simple use as opposed to a sale? One looks at the amount of meth one has and whether there is an indicia of sale – baggies, lots and lots of cash, possible firearm, pay/owe sheets, and a scale. Example – defendant is found with 3 pounds of methamphetamine in his bedroom drawer. He has three scales and cash in small bills, totaling $200. He has two cell phones and over 100 small baggies. The DA will argue that this is evidence of sales, not personal use.
If you have any questions, Kristine Koo can help you with your drug charges. Navigating the criminal justice system is better when you have counsel by your side. Kristine has done jury trials on drug charges and can guide you through your case with the best strategies and defenses. Please contact her immediately to discuss next steps.
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