Possession of Drugs

Depending on the type of narcotics involved the possession of drugs can either be a felony or a misdemeanor.  The possession of cocaine and heroin are always felonies.  Health and Safety Code section 11350 covers the possession of cocaine and heroin.  It states:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this division, every person who possesses (1) any controlled substance specified in subdivision (b) or (c), or paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) of Section 11054, specified in paragraph (14), (15), or (20) of subdivision (d) of Section 11054, or specified in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 11055, or specified in subdivision (h) of Section 11056, or (2) any controlled substance classified in Schedule III, IV, or V which is a narcotic drug, unless upon the written prescription of a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or veterinarian licensed to practice in this state, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison. (b) Except as otherwise provided in this division, every person who possesses any controlled substance specified in subdivision (e) of Section 11054 shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison. (c) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whenever a person who possesses any of the controlled substances specified in subdivision (a) or (b), the judge may, in addition to any punishment provided for pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b), assess against that person a fine not to exceed seventy dollars ($70) with proceeds of this fine to be used in accordance with Section 1463.23 of the Penal Code. The court shall, however, take into consideration the defendant’ s ability to pay, and no defendant shall be denied probation because of his or her inability to pay the fine permitted under this subdivision. (d) Except in unusual cases in which it would not serve the interest of justice to do so, whenever a court grants probation pursuant to a felony conviction under this section, in addition to any other conditions of probation which may be imposed, the following conditions of probation shall be ordered: (1) For a first offense under this section, a fine of at least one thousand dollars ($1,000) or community service. (2) For a second or subsequent offense under this section, a fine of at least two thousand dollars ($2,000) or community service. (3) If a defendant does not have the ability to pay the minimum fines specified in paragraphs (1) and (2), community service shall be ordered in lieu of the fine.

Simple possession of methamphetamine can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.  The possession of methamphetamine is prohibited by Health and Safety Code section 11377 which states:

11377. (a) Except as authorized by law and as otherwise provided in subdivision (b) or Section 11375, or in Article 7 (commencing with Section 4211) of Chapter 9 of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code, every person who possesses any controlled substance which is (1) classified in Schedule III, IV, or V, and which is not a narcotic drug, (2) specified in subdivision (d) of Section 11054, except paragraphs (13), (14), (15), and (20) of subdivision (d), (3) specified in paragraph (11) of subdivision (c) of Section 11056, (4) specified in paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (f) of Section 11054, or (5) specified in subdivision (d), (e), or (f) of Section 11055, unless upon the prescription of a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or veterinarian, licensed to practice in this state, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year or in the state prison. (b) (1) Any person who violates subdivision (a) by unlawfully possessing a controlled substance specified in subdivision (f) of Section 11056, and who has not previously been convicted of a violation involving a controlled substance specified in subdivision (f) of Section 11056, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (2) Any person who violates subdivision (a) by unlawfully possessing a controlled substance specified in subdivision (g) of Section 11056 is guilty of a misdemeanor. (3) Any person who violates subdivision (a) by unlawfully possessing a controlled substance specified in paragraph (7) or (8) of subdivision (d) of Section 11055 is guilty of a misdemeanor. (4) Any person who violates subdivision (a) by unlawfully possessing a controlled substance specified in paragraph (8) of subdivision (f) of Section 11057 is guilty of a misdemeanor. (c) In addition to any fine assessed under subdivision (b), the judge may assess a fine not to exceed seventy dollars ($70) against any person who violates subdivision (a), with the proceeds of this fine to be used in accordance with Section 1463.23 of the Penal Code. The court shall, however, take into consideration the defendant’s ability to pay, and no defendant shall be denied probation because of his or her inability to pay the fine permitted under this subdivision.

If you have been charged with possession of drugs contact drug attorney Lance Jacot at The Jacot Law Firm for a free case evaluation.