Drug Crimes include the manufacturing, trafficking, possession, or sale of an unlawful narcotic. The charges filed against you, either a felony or a misdemeanor will depend on the type of crime committed, the type of drug under possession, and the amount of the drug under possession. Possession of a drug can be proven by you having actual possession of a drug (drugs were found on you); constructive possession (the drugs were in a place that you had control over); or joint possession (constructive possession between you and somebody else). Drug crimes can have a serious effect on your future. Most employers will do background checks and a conviction for a drug crime can seriously impact your desirability as an employee.
In California, possession of drugs for personal use will typically result in a misdemeanor offense with the opportunity for alternative sentencing. Repeat offenders may have to participate in more prolonged programs for alternative sentencing. In 2016, California passed Prop. 64 which legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 and over.
However, drug crimes also include but are not limited to possession for sale, transportation, drug manufacturing, drug trafficking, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug cultivation and money laundering. The latter are the more serious crimes and will be typically filed as felonies. Due to the seriousness of the offense, a felony will expose you to state prison incarceration. It is very important that you speak with someone that is knowledgeable and experienced in handling these types of cases. If you are a repeat offender, or if you have solicited to minors, you may be subject to enhanced criminal charges and sentencing. Enhanced charges and enhanced sentencing in drug crimes means that as a result of the legislature, your punishment will be increased as a result of your prior record.
If you are charged with possession of drugs, you may be eligible for alternative sentencing, such as Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) or you may be eligible to have your case heard in drug court.
Even though marijuana in the State of California has been decriminalized for recreational use for adults over 21, it is still illegal to possess, use, cultivate, sell, transport, etc. under federal law. Please read our article regarding Prop. 64.