Many of the drug crimes in California can be found under the Health and Safety Codes. Drug offenses carry harsh criminal penalties if convicted. Under CA Health and Safety Code 11350(a), possession of a controlled substance in California, your future could be in jeopardy. If convicted, you could face incarceration, a destroyed reputation, and the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
Take steps to clear your name of these allegations and return to your life when you contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney for help. Schedule your confidential defense strategy session today to learn more about how to best approach the drug crime accusations against you.
Charges Under CA Health and Safety Code 11350(a) for Possession of a Controlled Substance
You can face charges under California Health and Safety Code 11350(a) for possession of a controlled substance if you are accused of being in possession or under control of any type of controlled substance for that you do not have a valid prescription. Some examples of such drugs could include:
Elements of a Possession of a Controlled Substance Offense
For the district attorney to secure a conviction for possession of a controlled substance under CA HS 11350(a), they must show that the elements of the offense have been met as follows:
- The defendant was in possession of a controlled substance.
- The defendant knew they were in possession of a controlled substance.
- The defendant was in possession of a usable amount of a controlled substance.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
The prosecutor must show you were in possession of a controlled substance. This can be by holding it on your person or controlling it in another location. This means you could still face charges if you have a controlled substance in your closet, purse, or even a storage unit.
Knowledge of the Controlled Substance
The prosecutor will also need to show that you knew you were in possession of a controlled substance. The prosecutor does not need to specify which type of controlled substance you are accused of possessing, but merely that you knew you had some kind of controlled substance in your possession.
A Usable Amount of Controlled Substances
You must have had a usable amount of a controlled substance for possession charges to apply. If there are only trace amounts or residue, these charges should not apply.
However, you can also face these charges if you were accused of possessing an analog of a controlled substance, which means it is a controlled substance that affects the central nervous system or is chemically similar to another controlled substance.
Offenses Related to CA Health and Safety Code 11350(a)
Several criminal offenses are related to the possession of a controlled substance or drug under California Health and Safety Code 11350(a). These include:
- Being impaired by drugs or controlled substances under CA Health and Safety Code 11350
- Possession of a drug or controlled substance for sale under CA Health and Safety Code 11351
- The transportation and sale of a controlled substance under California Health and Safety Code 11352
Penalties of a Guilty Verdict for Possession of a Controlled Substance
Generally, possession of a controlled substance under California Health and Safety Code 11350(a) is prosecuted as a misdemeanor. However, it is a wobbler offense, which means under specific circumstances, it can be charged at the felony level.
If convicted at the misdemeanor level, you could spend up to 365 days in a county jail and pay fines not to exceed $1,000. However, if you are convicted of the felony level, you could spend up to three years in a county jail and pay fines as high as $10,000.
Challenging Charges Under CA Health and Safety Code 11350(a)
Before going to trial, your Los Angeles DUI lawyer will determine whether you can avoid going to court by working out a plea agreement or entering a pretrial diversion program. Fortunately, you could qualify for a drug diversion program if you are a first-time offender of a non-violent drug crime. This way, you can complete the terms of your sentence in a drug treatment program as opposed to spending time in jail or prison.
However, if your case needs to go to court, several potential defenses could be used to challenge the allegations against you. These include:
- Lack of possession of a controlled substance
- Unlawful search and seizure
- Lawful prescription of a controlled substance
Lack of Possession
If you were not in actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance, you should not be convicted of this offense. Your lawyer must show that you did not have a controlled substance on your person or under your control at any time.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
If law enforcement officials conduct an unlawful search and seizure, any evidence they obtain during these illegal searches should be dismissed at trial. If the prosecutor cannot prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt without this evidence, the charges against you should be dismissed.
If you had a valid prescription for the controlled substance you were in possession of, you could not be charged with a criminal offense. Prescription medications can come from any healthcare provider, including veterinarians, dentists, and physicians.
Fight Back Against CA Health and Safety Code 11350(a) Possession of a Controlled Substance Allegations
Being accused of drug possession can come with severe consequences. If you are convicted, life as you know it may be over. For this reason, you must take action to dodge a guilty verdict and protect your future.
When you need help defending yourself under CA Health and Safety Code 11350(a) possession of a controlled substance in California, but you do not know where to turn for help, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable and respected Los Angeles DUI attorney to discuss the specific details of your case. Please fill out our quick contact form or call our office to get started as soon as today.