Drug Possession Attorney in El Cajon
With the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014, laws around possession of most controlled substances for personal use, also known as “simple possession”, were relaxed from felonies to misdemeanors. Controlled substances that would fall into this category include:
- Schedule I opiates, opium derivatives, cocaine base, peyote, mescaline, or synthetic cannabis
- Schedule II opiates and narcotics
- Schedule III hallucinogens
- Schedule III, IV, and V controlled substances without a valid prescription
A first-offense simple possession misdemeanor is punishable with fines of up to $1000, community service, and/or up to one year in county jail. For a second or subsequent offense, the fine may be doubled to $2000 and the jail time may be extended to up to two years.
A misdemeanor drug possession charge may be upgraded to a felony if the defendant is a registered sex offender and/or has been previously convicted of a serious felony. “Serious” felony is defined as any of the following:
- Attempted murder
- Bank robbery
- First-degree burglary
- Voluntary manslaughter
Felony possession of a controlled substance for personal use carries much stiffer penalties than a misdemeanor charge. In addition to heavier fines, defendants may face prison sentences ranging from 16 months to three years.
If the defendant is in possession of a larger quantities of controlled substances, this can result in a charge of felony possession with intent to sell. Conviction for this charge carries longer prison sentences, typically ranging from two to four years, depending on the case.
It is important to note that if you are facing your third felony charge, you may be looking at a much longer prison sentence if convicted. Under California’s “three strikes” program, if you have two prior felonies on your record for serious or violent offenses, you may be subject to 25 years to life in state prison for your third offense.
Marijuana Possession Laws after CA Proposition 64
California has been at the forefront of the movement to decriminalize the use of marijuana. We were one of the first states to legalize marijuana for medical purposes; and in 2016, the voters passed Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational use. Although the laws around marijuana possession have been significantly relaxed, there are still some circumstances in which it can result in a criminal charge.
Due to the passage of Proposition 64, you are legally allowed to possess up one ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana for personal use. However, if you are in possession of more than one ounce, this can result in a misdemeanor charge. In addition, possession of any amount of marijuana could also result in a misdemeanor charge if the defendant is under the age of 18 and/or possession (of the marijuana) occurs on school grounds.
Marijuana possession in California can even become a felony if it involves an adult selling and/or distributing marijuana to minors. If the defendant is 18 years of age or older and traffics marijuana to a minor between the ages of 14 and 17, this could result in a three to five-year prison sentence. If the defendant is 18 years of age or older and traffics marijuana to a minor who is under the age of 14, this can result in a three to 7-year prison sentence.
Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Garmo & Garmo
If you have been charged with drug possession or any other drug-related offense, time is of the essence. There may be certain defenses that can be used to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether, or otherwise mitigate the circumstances following your arrest. But the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to put together a strong defense.
At Garmo & Garmo, LLP, we are ready to go to work for you and to help ensure that your legal rights are protected. Our team will use their experience to aggressively defend the charges against you, and to explore every potential legal avenue you toward minimizing the negative consequences as much as possible. If you are in San Diego, El Cajon, or anywhere in Southern California, call our office today at 619-736-3935 to schedule a consultation, or message us with more details on your case.