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Can I avoid jail time for a drug offense?

Marijuana is legal in California. However, the other drugs under the Controlled Substance Act still carry possession and trafficking penalties in the state of California. In fact, you could even face jail time for the possession of marijuana if you have enough of it.

If you're facing drug charges, here are your options.

How are penalties determined?

Typically, a court considers the type of illicit drug you possessed, the amount of the drug you possessed and the reason why you had the drug to determine the sentence you should face.

However, after Proposition 47 was passed, the new law made simple possession of any illicit drug (opiates, narcotics, hallucinogens, etc.) punishable by a misdemeanor and only up to a year of county jail time. Marijuana still falls under this rule if you possess more than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis or more than 2.8 grams of marijuana.

Can I negotiate my way out of county jail?

Proposition 36, otherwise known as the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act (SACPA), allows those who are arrested for non-violent, drug-related crimes to pursue a rehabilitation treatment program in place of serving jail time.

Using an experienced criminal defense attorney to negotiate the terms of your program can also help you get the best possible outcome from your case.

What if I am facing trafficking or sale charges?

If you are not facing simple possession charges for a drug, you could face a lengthy sentence in state prison. However, with a skilled lawyer by your side, you may be able to reduce the charges to possession or negotiate for an alternative penalty.

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