Law is complicated, integrity is not

Dublin Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

An Honest Lawyer with High Ethics and a Commitment to Integrity

The criminal justice system is a tricky place when some lawyers are just looking to clear their defendants as quickly as possible. This may not always be in the defendants’ best interests, however, and Attorney Ryan Smith himself has been taken advantage of by lawyers before. As a result, Attorney Smith is personally committed to doing good by the law with and for his clients. He grounds his practice in the highest ethics and will provide truthful, honest answers – even if they may not be what you want to hear. When you are being accused of a crime as serious as misdemeanor or felony drug offenses, you want a lawyer who will act with integrity and honesty; let RLS Criminal Defense handle your Dublin drug crime.

Schedule a free consultation with RLS Criminal Defense to get started. Representing defendants in Alameda, San Joaquin, and Contra Costa Counties.

Illegal Possession of a Controlled Substance

It is illegal in California to possess certain controlled substances without a valid prescription. 

In order to charge someone with illegal possession in the state, the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime:

  • The defendant possessed a controlled substance.
  • The defendant did not have a valid prescription for that substance.
  • The defendant had knowledge of the substance in their possession.
  • The defendant had knowledge of the drug’s classification as a controlled substance.
  • The defendant possessed a usable amount of the controlled substance (not merely traces of the substance).

Note that the United States Controlled Substances Act prohibits the possession of drugs like cocaine, heroin, and LSD, and drugs that require a valid prescription include oxycodone, ketamine, Valium, and Xanax.

Misdemeanor and Felony Penalties

Most crimes of simple drug possession, or possession for personal use, are charged as misdemeanors in California that carry up to 1 year in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If the defendant had a prior conviction for a sex crime or some other serious felony, they may face felony charges for possession of a narcotic punishable by up to 3 years in county jail. Be aware that convicted felons are prohibited from possessing a firearm in California.

Possession of a controlled substance for reasons beyond personal use, such as for sale or transportation, is more serious than simple possession and will likely be charged as a felony.

California offers an alternative sentencing option in some possession cases, allowing defendants to participate in a drug diversion program or drug court instead of serving time in jail. Defendants eligible for this option are typically those charged with non-violent possession.

If an offender does have to serve their jail sentence and incur a mark on their criminal record for drug possession, chances are they may be able to expunge the misdemeanor or felony conviction. Individuals who successfully complete probation and are not charged with another criminal offense at the time may apply for expungement. 

Recreational Use of Marijuana in California

Since 2018, California has legalized the creational use of marijuana for adults. Individuals 21 years or older may legally possess up to an ounce of dried marijuana or up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis, as well as grow up to 6 plants for personal use. 

Exceeding these legal limits could result in misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and up to $500 in fines. Individuals younger than 21 years old who are found to be in possession of marijuana may be charged with an infraction punishable by a fine if they are 18 years or older or by drug counseling and community service if they are younger than 18.

Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law, so it is important to be wary about recreational marijuana use, even if it is legal in California. RLS Criminal Defense is well-versed in misdemeanor and felony drug laws and can appropriately assert your rights in the face of drug charges. Whether you have been accused of possessing an illegal substance without a valid prescription or possessing an excessive amount of cannabis, RLS Criminal Defense is prepared to defend you.

Schedule a free consultation with RLS Criminal Defense to get started with Attorney Ryan Smith.

schedule your free initial consultation

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.