DRUG OFFENSES: Possession and Possession for Sale
POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE: HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE 11377(A).
If you are charged with possession of a controlled substance the State has to prove four things beyond a reasonable doubt. First, they must prove that you exercised control over a controlled substance. Second, they have to prove that you knew of its presence. Third, they must prove that you knew its nature as a controlled substance. Finally, they must prove the substance was in a usable quantity.
With the recent passage of Proposition 47, certain qualifying crimes which used to be felonies are now misdemeanors under California law. You may be able to have your most recent case, and any earlier cases, changed from felonies to misdemeanors if you were convicted of the following charges:
• Shoplifting, i.e. Commercial Burglary of $950 or less of a Store during Business Hours (PC §459)
• Forgery of $950 or less (PC §470-476)
• Fraud/Bad Checks of $950 or less (PC §476a)
• Grand Theft of $950 or less (PC §487)
• Petty Theft/Shoplifting of $950 or less (PC §§484, 484/666)
• Possession of Methamphetamine (HS §11377)
• Possession of Controlled Substance (HS §11350)
• Possession of Concentrated Cannabis (HS §11357(a))
• Receiving Stolen Property of $950 or less (PC §496)
A conviction of this crime can result in loss of gun rights, voting rights, jury service, public office, and require you to register as a drug offender. Depending on your background you may be eligible for "PC 1000" which is a drug diversion program. Prop 36 is available for more serious drug offenders and is a more intensive diversion program. Possession of a controlled substance also covers possessing any narcotic medication without a prescription from a licensed medical professional. With the passage of proposition 47 many possession crimes which used to be felonies are now misdemeanors.
POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA FOR SALE~HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE 11359
To convict you of this crime the state must prove that you exercised control over the marijuana, that you knew of its presence, that you knew the substance was marijuana, that you possessed the marijuana with the intent to sell, and that the substance was in usable quantity to be used for sale. If you are convicted of possessing marijuana for sale your jail time exposure is anywhere from 16 months to 3 years of incarceration. Depending on your criminal history, you may be eligible for county prison under Health and Safety Code 1170(h).
CONSEQUENCES OF A CONVICTION FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE 11359
Additionally, you will be required to register as a drug offender, lose your gun rights, voting rights, jury service, and lose your ability to hold public office. The State will often argue that circumstantial evidence exists to prove possession for sale. This is generally done by arguing that firearms were present to protect the marijuana, there are large amounts of cash consistent with drug dealing, pre-packaged marijuana ready for sale, turkey bags, scales, and pay owe sheets.
If you are arrested for possessing marijuana for sale you need a lawyer who can assess your medical history, speak with your doctor, and arrange expert testimony if necessary.
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