The United States prohibits possession, cultivation, manufacturing and the distribution of illegal substances, such as cocaine, heroin and ecstasy. These drugs have been strictly regulated under both federal and state laws. However, each state has approached this war on drugs differently. As such, some drug offenses are considered misdemeanors in some states but felonies in others.
California uses broad state laws, including the California Health and Safety Code and the Penal Code, in regulating illicit drugs.
Illegal Drugs: What Is Legal v. What Is Not Under California Law
California law, just as federal laws, is constantly changing. As a result, what is legal or illegal has changed over the years. One of California’s recent drug law reviews is Proposition 47, which was passed in late 2014. Prop 47 controversially reduced penalties for many California drug charges. Since its passage, most drug possession offenses have become misdemeanors.
– Possession of a Controlled Substance: The California Health and Safety Code makes it illegal for individuals to possess listed controlled substances, including cocaine, ecstasy and crack. The law also makes it illegal to unlawfully possess prescription drugs, such as Vicodin, without first obtaining a prescription from a licensed physician. Under Prop 47, possession of illegal drugs is a misdemeanor offense punishable with up to one year in county jail.
– Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance: Possession of a controlled substance is a much more serious crime with stiffer penalties. However, in order to obtain a conviction for possession for sale, the prosecution must establish the existence of intent to sell. Penalties for a conviction include up to four years in a state prison.
– Distribution of a Controlled Substance: California Health and Safety Code 1135 makes it illegal to transport or distribute a controlled substances. Distribution can involve a large drug manufacturer to a simple street dealer selling cocaine to another dealer or user. Penalties for this crime include a prison a term ranging from three to five years in a state prison.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone that you care about has been arrested or charged with a crime that you did not commit, it is important that you immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to avoid a criminal conviction.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Central Valley criminal defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call us at (209) 323-5558 or complete our online form.