An Overview of Drug Crimes
A drug crime refers to any criminal activity involving a substance or narcotic deemed illegal by federal or state law. Common drug offenses include:
- Drug possession
- Drug possession with intent to sell
- Drug cultivation
- Drug manufacturing
- Drug distribution
- Drug trafficking
- Drug transportation
- Soliciting drugs to minors
- Selling drugs near a school zone
- Medical marijuana violations
- Prescription drug violations
In California, the majority of drug crimes involve the use of marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, Ecstasy, and PCP. However, in some cases, the drug in question is a lawful prescription or over-the-counter medication. When a person uses a lawful drug for unlawful purposes, he or she can still face criminal drug charges. An example of this is when people obtain certain prescription medications, such as OxyContin, Xanax, or Vicodin, to resell them to make a profit. Another example of this includes people who purchase large quantities of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines, such as Sudafed and Claritin D, to manufacture the ingredients into crystal meth.
An Overview of California Drug Offenses
In California, there are two broad categories of drug offenses prosecuted by the State – possession of a controlled substance, and possession with the intent to sell. These categories are subdivided into more specific offenses based on type and amount of substance, and occasionally certain other factors.
Possession with Intent to Sell
Depending on circumstances surrounding the alleged possession of a controlled substance, the State may decide to file a case for possession with intent to sell. These types of offenses are generally punished more severely than mere possession of a controlled substance.
Such factors include quantity of substance recovered, the suspect’s observed conduct, possession of certain paraphernalia, and other factors.
Sentences for Drug Possession After Prop 47
In 2014, California voters passed Prop 47 through a ballot initiative. This initiative changed existing laws regarding drugs and controlled substances. As a result of Prop 47, many drug offenses are misdemeanors in California. As a result of Prop 47, certain individuals previously convicted of felony drug charges which are now misdemeanors may petition the Court for a resentencing to a misdemeanor.
Unfortunately, even a misdemeanor conviction can seriously impact an individual’s future, including job prospects, and can present obstacles to potential licensing requirements. It is important that any individual charged with any crime retain an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Law Offices of Michael A. Goldstein proudly helps individuals previously convicted of felony drug possession to have their convictions reduced to misdemeanors, when possible.
Recreational Marijuana in California
In 2016, California voters passed Prop 64, which legalized recreational marijuana for individuals 21 years or older. Under Prop 64, adults over the age of 21 may purchase, possess, and use up to 28.5 grams of marijuana or up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. The new laws, however, do not make it legal to use marijuana in public, to drive under the influence of marijuana, or a number of other activities as specified by the Health and Safety Code. Prop 64 did not change any laws regarding the sale of marijuana, which remains a felony.
Prop 64 also allows individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants within a public home so long as they are grown in a locked area and are not visible from a public area.
In 2016, voters decriminalized recreational marijuana. Additionally, possession on the grounds of a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present remains illegal. Furthermore, a person is permitted to grow up to six plants within a private home, as long as the individual complies with certain regulations.
Prop 64 did not change California’s pre-existing Medical Marijuana Laws.
California Codes and Legal Research Options
The below links provide some additional resources regarding drug offenses in California.
- California Marijuana Laws
- Drug Possession Defenses
- California Drug Distribution Laws
- Bureau of Marijuana Control
If you have any questions regarding Drug Offenses, call our offices today. We can help you understand the charges against you, the possible defenses, and help formulate a strategy, including defense of any charges.
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