Drug Crimes Possession of a Controlled Substance California Health and Safety Code 11350

California HS 11350 covers the various criminal offenses related to the possession of certain controlled substances or illegal drugs. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 created the federal government's drug policy with regard to the possession, use, manufacture, importation, and distribution of certain substances.

Possession of a small amount of a controlled substance is often referred to as simple possession. When someone is charged with simple possession, the belief is that they only possessed the drug for personal use, or in other words, that they had no intent to distribute the drug or engage in trafficking.

In California, while someone convicted of more serious charges, such as the trafficking or distribution of a controlled substance, often faces a mandatory period of incarceration, even a conviction for simple possession can lead to jail time and other serious consequences.

Because of this, if you have been charged with a violation of HS 11350, we encourage you to contact Our Law Firm to have an experienced California drug crimes defense attorney assist you in avoiding the unwanted consequences that a conviction for a drug offense in California will bring to your life.

The Penalties For Possession of a Controlled Substance Under California HS 11350

Under California HS 11350, simple possession of a controlled substance, such as cocaine, heroin, LSD, or the possession of prescription drugs, like hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, or any other controlled substance covered under HS 11350, without a valid physician's prescription, is typically prosecuted as a misdemeanor. However, the charge may be prosecuted as a felony offense if you have previously been convicted of a sex offense or serious violent crime, such as murder or manslaughter.

 If you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense for violating HS 11350, you will face up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 ($2000 for a second offense) or community service, and a criminal record. A felony conviction for the same offense will expose you to a minimum of 16 months and a maximum of 3 years of incarceration.

What Does The State Need to Prove To Convict You Under HS 11350?

In order to convict you under California HS 11350, the state needs to prove the following:

  1. That you were unlawfully in possession of a controlled substance; and

  2. That you knew that you were in possession of a controlled substance unlawfully; and

  3. That you possessed a usable amount of a controlled substance––a trace amount or unusable quantity of the substance will not support a conviction.

 Actual vs. Constructive Possession

California does take into account ownership in controlled substance offenses. This means that regardless of whether or not the drugs actually belonged to you, you can still be held criminally liable if you enjoyed either actual or constructive possession of the substances.

 Actual possession means that the substance is alleged to have been found on your person, such as in your hand, pocket, handbag, etc. Constructive possession, on the other hand, refers to cases where you are alleged to have had knowledge of the drug’s location, as well as, the ability to exercise physical control over them, for instance, if the drugs were found in the glove compartment or trunk of your car, a closet in your home, or in a storage locker to which you had access.

How Our California Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys Can Help

Unless you possess the knowledge of a seasoned drug crimes defense lawyer, it is never a good idea to attempt to defend yourself when charged with a drug offense. A top-notch California drug crimes defense lawyer will ensure that all of the essential requirements for presenting your defense are fulfilled and assist you during every single phase of the legal process.

As your attorneys, our first priority will be to seek to get the case dropped, whether by attempting to get the police or prosecutor to agree not to proceed with the charges or by winning the case for you at trial. When this is not possible, we will seek a resolution to the case that will avoid any criminal record.

Contact An Experienced California Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

While a conviction under California HS 11350 is, in most cases, only a misdemeanor offense, it still carries with it the possibility of jail time. What's more, a conviction for a drug offense can affect your ability to travel internationally, your status as an immigrant, and can appear in a criminal background check, where it can affect your ability to obtain work. This is why it is extremely important to seek aggressive legal help to defend the charge.

At Our Law Firm, we are committed to using our experience, empathy, and in-depth knowledge of California criminal law to provide excellent service in defense of our clients’ rights and futures under all circumstances. If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of a controlled substance in California, call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced California drug crimes defense attorney.