What Are the Penalties for Drug Possession?

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Drug Possession Penalties and Sentencing

If you or a loved one has been taken into custody for drug possession charges, it can be a little scary. These types of situations can be scary not only because it involves being taken into jail custody, but because the entire process can be overwhelming. In the state of California, there are two crimes pertaining to drug possession, which are simple possession and possession with the intent to sell. Knowing what the penalties and sentencing are for these types of crimes will better help you prepare for your court case, as well as answer the questions of “How long do you go to jail for possession of drugs?” and “Can possession charges be dropped?”

Simple Drug Possession

When Proposition 47 was passed in 2014, the law changed for how simple drug possession is charged and what type of sentencing is involved. If people have the following on their person or in their car, they will be charged with a misdemeanor.

  • Opiates: Opiates fall under Schedule I and Schedule II drugs; opiates include heroin, fentanyl, codeine, and morphine.
  • Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens are considered a Schedule III drug. Peyote and LSD are considered hallucinogens.
  • Depressants: This type of drug falls under the Schedule IV class. Xanax and valium are the most common you will see.
  • Stimulants: Stimulants can be considered Schedule II, III, and IV depending on the severity of the stimulant. Examples of a stimulant are cocaine, Adderall, and ecstasy.
  • Steroids: Steroid drugs are going to be under a Schedule III class. Testosterone and Androstenedione are types of steroids you can be arrested for having.

The penalties can be up to one year in jail, with a $1,000 fine. In regards to marijuana, recreational use became legal on January 1, 2018. People who partake in recreational marijuana must be 21 years of age and only have up to one ounce of marijuana on them. If a person has more than one ounce, they will be charged with a misdemeanor, face up to six months in jail, and be fined up to $500; if a person is under 21 and has drug possession of marijuana, they will be charged with an infraction, and if they are over 18 they will pay a drug possession fine, and if under 18 they will go to drug counseling or do community service. People who have a medical marijuana license will never be charged with possession.

While drug possession charges are pretty lenient for first-time offenders, that is not always the case for people who have been charged with this type of crime before. If you or someone you love has a prior conviction, drug possession can be considered a felony. Other times that drug possession would be considered a felony and not a misdemeanor is when the accused has to register as a sex offender or the accused was in possession of a firearm including possessing drugs. Many people ask, “Can you be charged with drug possession after the fact?”And the answer is yes. If an arrest wasn’t made, a person can still get drug possession charges.

Drug Possession with Intent To Sell

Under California’s Health and Safety Code 11351 HS, possessing certain controlled substances in order to sell them is considered a felony. The drugs that fall under drug possession with intent to sell are

  • Cocaine: Cocaine is a stimulant and a Schedule II drug; it can be a Schedule I drug if it’s a cocaine base.
  • Heroin: Heroin is an opiate and a Schedule I drug.
  • Codeine: Codeine is an opiate and a Schedule V drug.
  • Oxycodone: Oxycodone is an opiate and a Schedule II drug.
  • Hydrocodone: Hydrocodone is an opiate and a Schedule II drug.

If someone has drug possession charges with intent to sell, they can face up to four years in jail, with a fine of up to $20,000.

While possessing one ounce of marijuana for people who are 21 and over is not a crime, possession with the intent to sell is another story. If someone is going to sell marijuana, they have to have a license, or they are violating Health and Safety Code 11359 and 11360 HS. Drug possession charges with intent to sell are considered a misdemeanor and can face a fine up to $500 and spend up to six months in jail. However, drug possession with intent to sell can go from a misdemeanor to a felony if the accused have violent or sex crimes on their record, they were selling to minors, or they are repeat offenders.

Drug Possession for Paraphernalia

When it comes to possession of drug paraphernalia, it is illegal under Health & Safety Code 11364 HS. People who have devices to inject or smoke illegal drugs, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. If someone has drug possession charges due to having paraphernalia, they can spend six months in jail and pay a fine of up to $1,000. Certain individuals who hold certain positions such as lawyers, teachers, or real estate agents can also have their licenses suspended. One thing that is important to note is that having hypodermic needles or syringes that come from a doctor or are used for personal use will not be illegal until 2021.

How Much Is Bail for Drug Possession?

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Will I Get Probation for Possession?

If you have been arrested and have drug possession charges, then you most likely want to get out of jail and prepare for your trial. Many people ask how much bail will be for drug possession, but it is going to depend on a couple of factors. Sometimes the jail that you are sent to will have a bail schedule, which means it will have a set bail amount depending on the crime that was committed. However, bail can decided on the discretion of the judge or court. A judge can decide the bail amount based on past criminal history, prior offenses, if the person is a flight risk, if the person is a danger to their community, and more. So your bail can be determined through a bail schedule or by a judge. Another thing that people ask when they drug possession charges in Santa Ana, CA is whether they will get probation. Again, it will depend on a lot of factors, mostly having to do with your prior criminal history. If you are needing jail info, you can call on the bail bond agents at Alvarado Bail Bonds. We will be able to provide you information on the bail bond process for drug possession, so call us today at 888-866-8376!