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What penalties could result from drug possession charges?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

There are many different reasons that people in California use various drugs. Many times when they use these drugs it is perfectly legal as well. Doctors prescribe people various drugs in order to manage their pain or treat various illnesses. As long as people have a valid prescription for the drug it is not only legal, but usually beneficial as well. However, many people also use drugs without valid prescriptions or take drugs that would never be prescribed and have no medical benefits.

There are many reasons that people end up using drugs in that manner, but many may have become addicted to the drugs. Regardless of why people use them though, it is illegal to do so without a valid prescription. People caught with the drugs could be charged with drug possession. The potential penalties were lessened recently for some first-time offenders, but people could still face serious consequences, especially if they are also selling the drugs instead of simply possessing them.

Potential penalties for drug possession

For a first-time offense people could be charged with a misdemeanor for most types of drugs as long as they are charged with simple possession. People could spend up to one year in county jail as a result. They could also be fined and placed on probation and need to complete community service in lieu of a fine. The penalties increase though if they are repeat offenders or have been previously convicted of certain felonies. If people are charged with possession with the intent to sell though, people could spend anywhere between two and four years in jail.

Many people are charged with drug possession in California. This does not mean that people are automatically guilty of the crime though. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and there may be defenses available to the person. These defenses start with whether the police legally stopped and searched the person. If the stop or search was illegal, the evidence of the drugs could be suppressed and a conviction becomes very unlikely. Experienced attorneys understand these defenses and may be able to guide one through the process.