Seasoned Criminal Defense Attorney Working With Michael J. LaCilento Attorney at Law

Corona Drug Crimes Lawyer

California Drug Possession and Distribution Laws

While California is known for less severe penalties for drug possession compared to other states, you should still be wary of any drug-related convictions, especially if you have been charged with possession or distribution of a controlled substance. I, Michael J. LaCilento, Attorney at Law, have over 20 years of dedicated defense experience, and I can provide you the aggressive litigation you want to fight your drug charges. You can trust me to defend your civil rights – and your future.

Possession Under Proposition 47 and Proposition 64

Following Proposition 47 in 2014, California made many drug possession offenses punishable only as a misdemeanor. However, the specifics of your sentencing will depend on the type of drug in question. You will likely face a misdemeanor charge of possession if you possess one of the substances listed under the Health and Safety Code:

  • Schedule I opiates, opium derivatives, cocaine base, mescaline, peyote, or synthetic cannabis (including their isomers, esters, ethers, salts, and salts of isomers, esters, and ethers)
  • Schedule II narcotics or opiates
  • Schedule III hallucinogens, and
  • Schedule III, IV, or V drugs

Note that in 2016, voters decriminalized recreational marijuana under Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. This law allows those over 21 to:

  • possess, purchase, and consume up to 28.5 grams of cannabis, and
  • possess, purchase, and consume up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis

in their private residence or in an establishment licensed for marijuana consumption. Smoking remains illegal while driving a vehicle, anywhere tobacco is prohibited, and in all public places.

Drug Distribution

A prosecutor may charge you with "possession for sale" or "purchase for the purpose of sale" if the state believes that you intended to engage in drug dealing. California's drug distribution laws broadly criminalize the sale, transport, transfer, and import of controlled substances (unless up to 28 grams of marijuana by adults over the age of 21). Be aware that drug distribution crimes can include prescription drugs if you did not have a license to dispense the drugs or if you improperly sold the drugs.

For a charge of drug distribution such as sale or transport, a prosecutor must be able to differentiate your conduct from possession of drugs for personal use. Evidence a prosecutor might bring against you to show possession for sale rather than personal use could include:

  • the amount of drugs attributed to you, and
  • drug paraphernalia such as packaging materials, scales, and weapons.

What are the Penalties for Drug Possession and Distribution?

Violation of marijuana possession laws could result in the following penalties:

  • Possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis: up to 6 months of jail time and/or a fine of not more than $500.
  • Possession of over 8 grams of concentrated cannabis: up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.
  • Possession of marijuana by those 18 and under: up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $500; mandatory drug education course and community service.

Further, if you do not possess a license to sell cannabis you will face a misdemeanor with similar charges of up to 6 months in jail and/or fines up to $500.

The transport, import, transfer, or sale of controlled substances is a felony crime that may result in the following sentencing:

  • 3-5 years in jail;
  • 3-9 years in jail if transported from one California county to a non-contiguous county;
  • 16 months to 6 years in jail for the transport, import, transfer, or sale of phencyclidine (PCP) and methamphetamine or the chemicals used to manufacture those drugs.

Also note that if any drug-related distribution occurs within 1,000 feet of schools, school-related programs, or playgrounds during operational hours, you will face enhanced penalties, such as an additional 1 to 2 years in prison.

Let Michael J. LaCilento, Attorney at Law Fight for You

If you are facing drug crime charges, contact my firm immediately. I can take a look at your case and craft an aggressive and compelling defense to fight against unfairly severe penalties. Whether there was an unlawful seizure by law enforcement or you had a lawful amount of legal drugs for personal use, attorney LaCilento can represent you in court and push for mitigated or dropped charges.

Contact me at Michael J. LaCilento, Attorney at Law or by dialing (951) 335-0088 for a free case review.

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