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
of $20,000. Possession with intent to sell is taken seriously in California
and will need a powerful and experienced attorney to fight your case.
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
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
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.