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Drug possession under California law

The potential penalties differ in California for drug possession charges, depending on whether the person is charged with simple possession or possession with intent to sell. Possession of marijuana also have their own separate category of potential penalties than those for other drugs.

Simple possession of a drug other than marijuana can result in imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year. Possession with intent to sell the drug can lead to a sentence of two to five years in prison. If the person is convicted of transporting a drug for sale, he or she might face up to nine years in prison. Possessing ingredients for manufacturing substances like methamphetamine can garner the convicted person a sentence of two, four or six years in prison.

Potential penalties for marijuana possession are significantly lighter than those for other drugs. Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana can result in a fine of $100. Possession of larger amounts or possession while the person is close to a school can have additional penalties including imprisonment. Possessing marijuana with intent to sell it can result in imprisonment from six months to three years.

When a person is facing drug charges, it may be important for them to speak with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney may be able to devise a defense strategy to the charges. People who have drug convictions on their records have a more difficult time finding jobs, housing and obtaining educational loans to attend college. People who are facing allegations of committing criminal offenses have a constitutional right to assert a strong defense in court to the charges. An attorney who defends people facing drug charges may have a better idea of the types of defenses that are more apt to work in a given set of circumstances.

Source: Findlaw, "California Drug Possession Laws", October 31, 2014

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