Drug crimes are taken very seriously in California. Even though those outside of the state may think California is lenient on drug charges, due to the allowed use of medical marijuana, many individuals still end up in jail every year for drug related issues. One of the most common charges people are faced with is possession of a controlled substance. Due to the potential seriousness of this crime, anyone charged with it should fully understand the law.
What Constitutes Possession of a Controlled Substance?
Possession of a controlled substance, under California law, means exactly what it says. For prosecutors to convict a person for the crime, they must prove that an individual was in possession of a drug that is listed in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. These drugs can include anything from heroine to peyote. In fact, even possessing certain legal medications without a prescription can fall under this law.
Prosecutors can prove possession by either showing that an individual had actual possession of the aforementioned controlled substances (meaning on their person) or they had constructive possession, which means the drug was in a location under their control. It must also be proven that an individual knew what they were doing and had enough of the substance to be used in a controlled manner.
Bail Amounts for Possession of Controlled Substances
Bail amounts for possessing controlled substances can vary greatly depending on where a person was arrested in California, and the circumstances of their case. This crime is actually considered a “wobbler,” and this means that prosecutors can charge it as either a misdemeanor or felony. The most important difference to note, however, is the difference in bail amounts by locale.
In San Luis Obispo County, for instance, a misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance will yield a bail amount of $4,500, but this same crime in San Diego County will only lead to a $1,000 bail amount. For felony counts, a person in Los Angeles County could face a $10,000 bail. If, instead, they are captured in Orange County, their bail amount will likely be set at $20,000. For a fuller understanding of the bail schedules defined in each county, contact a Bail Hotline agent who can not only post your bond at a fraction of the face bail amount, but can also assist with payment plans.
Penalties for Possessing Controlled Substances
Misdemeanor convictions will only result in a maximum jail sentence of one year, as it is across the whole country. In addition, a person could have to pay a $1,000 fine. If convicted of felony possession, on the other hand, an individual could face up to three years in a state prison facility. Now there is a chance that a person could go through a drug diversion program rather than spend time in prison, but this is up to the judge.
The penalties for possession of a controlled substance are very serious, and if the prosecutor wishes to make an example of someone, these penalties could become even worse. Because of this, an individual should find legal help immediately if arrested and charged with the crime. There are various defenses to this charge, and as long as an individual doesn’t immediately plead guilty, they still have a chance to avoid conviction.