Elements of a Drug Possession Charge
According to the
California Health & Safety Code § 11350, possession charges have two major elements:
In order to be convicted under this statute, the prosecutor must effectively
show that you knew about the substance and also knew that the substance
was a controlled substance/illegal narcotic.
Drug possession charges are also based on quantity. In order for a judge
to convict you of a possession offense, the prosecutor must show that
you possessed enough of the drug to use it as a controlled substance.
Under § 113550 of the California Health & Safety Code, there are
three types of possession charges:
Actual Possession – Usually, this means that the drug was found on your person
Constructive Possession – This means the drug was found in an area in which you exercise
control, such as your home or apartment.
Joint Possession – Shared actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance.
§ 11350 is not the only drug possession statute in California's
HS code. § 11351 is California's "possession for sale"
statute and § 11377 criminalizes the unlawful possession of methamphetamine
and some other controlled substances.
Arrested for a violation of § 11351?
Possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell is more severe
than simple possession. Simple possession is usually charged as a felony,
but intent to sell is a felony charge punishable by probation/up to a
year in jail or 2-4 years in state prison in addition to a maximum fine
Arrested for a violation of § 11377?
In addition to California's drug possession statute is a statute that
specifically criminalizes the possession of methamphetamines. Whether
this is charged as a misdemeanor or felony largely rests on the facts
of your case as well as your criminal history (ex: any prior drug offenses).
Defenses We Can Use in Your Drug Possession Case
Because a drug possession conviction requires proof that you knew about
the drug and possessed a certain quantity of the drug, two major legal
defenses we may be able to use in your case include: A) arguing that you
did not know the drug was present/did not know the substance was a controlled
substance, and B) arguing that you did not possess a large enough quantity
of the drug to warrant a possession conviction. Some other defenses we
can use include:
- You possessed a valid prescription
- Police didn't have a valid warrant to search
- You didn't actually possess the substance
- No intent to sell (for § 11351 charges)
Start Your Defense Today! Call Us at (800) 462-7160
By contacting us today, one of our skilled attorneys can evaluate your
case and inform you of your legal rights and options. It also allows us
to become acquainted with your unique needs. For example, if this is your
first encounter with the criminal justice system, your legal need would
be to keep a clean criminal record. If you already have one or multiple
prior drug offenses on your record, you may need to avoid a conviction
to stave off the enhanced penalties that befall repeat offenders.