Oakland Drug Possession Defense Lawyer
Although certain drug crimes have been reduced to misdemeanor offenses under proposition 47, the penalties still can impact your life. A drug possession lawyer like Seth Morris assesses each case and helps navigate the criminal process according to California law.
With a deep understanding of laws regarding drug possession and extensive experience in the California criminal system, Seth knows what you’re up against. He provides options for the accused and defends your rights in court. Hire one of California’s most skilled defense attorneys by contacting Morris Law at 510-225-9955 or through our contact form.
Drug Possession Charges You Could Face
There are several forms of drug possession, and you could face multiple charges depending on the circumstances of your case. Generally, these are potential charges for drug possession.
- Possession of a Controlled Substance – California Health and Safety Code § 11350 states that it is illegal to possess a controlled substance without a prescription. Since proposition 47, this crime is now a misdemeanor offense and includes drugs like cocaine, Xanax, or heroin.
- Possession of Methamphetamines – California Health and Safety Code § 11377 states that it is a misdemeanor offense to unlawfully possess methamphetamines or other specific narcotics.
- Possession with the intent to sell – California Health and Safety Code § 11351 states that it is a felony drug offense to possess specific controlled substances with the intent of selling them.
- Marijuana Possession – It is illegal to possess more than 28.5 grams of marijuana
- Possession of Concentrated Cannabis – It is illegal to possess over 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.
- Possession of a Controlled Substance While Armed – California Health and Safety Code § 11370 prohibits the possession of a controlled substance with a loaded and operable firearm.
Seth Morris Helps Reduce or Dismiss Your Penalties
Penalties for drug possession range and have changed over the years. Your penalties will vary depending on the amount of drugs in question, the type of drug, and other factors. Your penalties could also increase due to other characteristics about your case, such as being armed with a gun.
- Marijuana Possession – Possessing over 28.5 grams of marijuana results in up to six months jail time; fines up to $500. Possessing over 8 grams of concentrated cannabis results in jail time of up to one year; fines up to $500.
- Possession of a Controlled Substance – Up to one year in jail; fines up to $1000.
- Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamines – Up to one year in jail; fines up to $1000.
- Possession with Intent to Sell – Two, three, or four years in jail; fines up to $20,000.
- Possession of a Controlled Substance While Armed – Two, three, or four years in jail; fines up to $10,000.
These penalties can leave damaging effects on your life far after you serve your time or pay your fine. That’s why it’s crucial to hire a drug possession lawyer who knows the system and can clear your name.
Convictions Produce Additional Consequences
In addition to jail time and fines, you could face collateral consequences for a drug possession conviction that include:
- Your conviction showing up on background checks
- Finding adequate housing
- Losing custody rights
- Losing immigration status
These are only a few consequences that linger well after your sentence is over. Even misdemeanor convictions can produce these kinds of consequences. Therefore, you must take these charges seriously and know what you’re up against.
Proposition 47 Reduced Drug Possession Penalties
As stated briefly, proposition 47 has reduced many criminal charges from felonies to misdemeanors. One of these crimes includes possession of a controlled substance. If you or a loved one is currently serving time for an offense that is now considered a misdemeanor, contact Morris Law today to discuss options for resentencing.
California Drug Laws & Drug Possession
The law is particular when mentioning drug possession. There is a chance that you did not possess drugs as defined under California law. There are three types of possession: actual, constructive, and joint. Either one can be challenged, and the prosecution must prove your guilt based on the legal definition of possession.
This form of possession is simple. Actual possession means that the drugs are actually on your person.
The law defines constructive possession as having drugs somewhere you can easily access them. Suppose you do not have drugs on your person, but you can easily access them in your car. In this case, the prosecution can claim that you had constructive possession of the substance.
In joint possession, two people have actual or constructive possession of a substance. You could be charged with possession if there were drugs in a place where you and another person had access to them.
Morris Law Challenges the Case Against You
No matter what charges you face, you always have options to defend yourself. The case against you may not be as strong as you think. There could be multiple options to weaken the prosecution’s case.
You Were Not in Legal Possession of the Drugs
Adding on to the points made in the previous section, a drug possession lawyer can question whether you had legal possession of a drug. If the prosecution claims that you had constructive possession of the drugs, then your lawyer can make the claim that you could not have accessed them at any moment.
Issues with the Chain of Custody
If the evidence used to charge you with drug possession was tampered with or broke the chain of custody, that evidence should be dismissed.
You Have a Valid Prescription
Your defense attorney can also argue that the drugs in your possession were legally prescribed to you.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
Law enforcement must have a warrant or probable cause to search your property. If you were charged with drug possession through an unlawful search and seizure, the prosecution could not use that evidence in court.
Eligibility for Pretrial Diversion Programs
You may be eligible to avoid jail time with a pretrial diversion program depending on your case. This program can address the root cause of drug use, addiction. According to California Penal Code § 1000, you have the option to seek education and treatment for drug abuse rather than face the penalties.
However, this program applies only to those charged with non-violent crimes and lower-level drug crimes like simple possession. There are also several other qualifications to be eligible. To know if you qualify, speak with a drug possession lawyer today. They can guide you in the right direction to seek other means of dealing with your drug charges instead of prison.