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Penalties for Drug Possession in California

Are you facing drug possession charges in Orange County, or anywhere else in California? If so, and this is your first drug offense, you’re probably wondering, “What types of penalties am I facing if I’m convicted?” For the answer to this question, continue reading as we help you better understand what you’re up against.

In California, drug possession is criminalized under Section 11350 of the Health and Safety Code. Under Sec. 11350, it’s against the law to possess a controlled substance listed under Section 11054, Sec. 11055, or Sec. 11056 of the Health and Safety Code. It’s also illegal to possess a controlled substance that is classified as a Schedule III, IV, or V drug, which would be a “narcotic drug.”

While there are dozens of controlled substances listed under Sec. 11054, here are some examples of prohibited drugs under Sec. 11054 of the HSC:

  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • LSD
  • Mescaline
  • Psilocybin
  • GHB
  • Cocaine

Under Sec. 11350(b), the offense of drug possession is punishable by up to one year in county jail, by a minimum fine of $1,000, or community service. A second or subsequent drug possession offense is punishable by incarceration, a minimum fine of $2,000, or community service. If the defendant cannot afford to pay the fines, then he or she will be ordered to perform community service instead.

Illegal Possession of a Prescription Medication

Each state has criminalized possessing a prescription medication without a valid prescription. In California, it’s a criminal offense to possess a prescription drug unless you received a written prescription from a doctor, dentist, podiatrist, or veterinarian licensed in California.

Illegal possession of a prescription medication is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine, or community service, and up to one year in jail for a first offense. So, if you have a friend who wants to offer you a Vicodin for pain, or some Ambien so you can get a good night’s sleep – turn down their offer – it’s not worth the risk!

If you’re facing possession charges, contact us to meet with an Orange County drug possession attorney for free!