Possession of a Controlled Substance in CA
According to California Health and Safety Code 11350, a person can be charged for the possession of a controlled substance in any one of three ways: actual possession, constructive possession, or joint possession. If you are questioning the validity of the possession charges that were made against you, it is important to speak with an Orange County criminal defense attorney from our firm. Upon review of your case, we can determine whether or not the criminal charges currently being held against you are warranted, and how to defend you in court if a valid case exists.
To help you better understand why you might be facing drug possession charges, we explain each of the three types of possession offenses below:
- Actual Possession: Actual possession of a controlled substance implies that you are in direct physical control of the substance. Charges of this nature are most often made when the drug is found on your person, but actual possession charges can also be made if it is inarguably obvious that you were in possession of the drug immediately before law enforcement officers reported to the scene.
- Constructive Possession: Constructive possession pertains to situations in which drug possession charges are issued to a person who was not found in physical possession of drugs, but instead at a location over which said person has control.
- Joint Possession: Joint possession is indicative of dual possession between two or more people. Joint possession can involve actual possession or constructive possession. Oftentimes, joint possession charges are issued to roommates, one of whom the drug belongs to and the other of whom knowingly allowed the drug possession to continue.
Possible Penalties for Drug Possession
In the state of California, the possession of a controlled substance is usually charged as a felony and convicted accordingly. That being said, defendants who are found guilty of drug possession could be sentenced with up to a year in county jail and probation following the jail time OR 16 months to 3 years spent in a California state prison.
Penalties are subject to adjustment, however, depending on the circumstances involved in your case. More specifically, if your attorney can prove that the drug(s) found on your possession fall into a small category of depressants, the offense could be sentenced as a misdemeanor instead. Situations of this nature are referred to as "wobblers." Whether your offense is ultimately charged as a misdemeanor or a felony will come down to the facts involved in the case and the criminal history of the defendant.
Drug possession offenses that are convicted as a misdemeanor can land a person in the county jail for up to a year. Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor drug possession crime will also be subject to up to $1,000 in fines. Additional consequences could be in store based on the unique facets of your case. For example, non-citizens of the U.S. who are convicted of drug possession could be deported or even denied re-entry or the ability to complete the naturalization process.
Building an Effective Defense for Your Drug Possession Case
If you've been accused of drug possession, there is no argument as to your need for aggressive defense. In fact, to forego your constitutional right to an attorney could significantly jeopardize your chances of escaping conviction. There are a number of defense methods that can be utilized on your behalf, but none of these can be employed before an attorney investigates the specific circumstances involved in your case.
Among the defense methods that might be applicable to your case are the following:
- Arguing that you didn't actually possess the controlled substance
- Arguing that your possession of the controlled substance was only temporary
- Arguing that you held a valid prescription for the controlled substance found in your position
- Arguing that illegal search and seizure methods were utilized in the process of making an arrest for possession
- Arguing that you had a lack of knowledge (either of the possession in general or of the illegality of the substance in your possession)
The defenses listed above are some of the most commonly used methods of defense in cases of drug possession charges; however, this is not to say that they are the only methods that can be utilized. Much of your defense will come down to the specific aspects of your case, which makes it vital to obtain a criminal defense attorney as early on in the legal process as possible.
You Need a Reliable Defense From a Lawyer With Experience
When you contact the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman, you will have access to our firm's arsenal of defenses that can be used to avoid conviction for your drug crime. You can also benefit from our plea bargaining skills which can be used as a means of lessening the consequences issued to you if a conviction is ultimately made.
Our OC drug crime defense team stands ready to defend you both in and out of the courtroom for any type of drug crime offense that you might be facing, so don't wait to contact us today.