California Health and Safety Code 11350 makes it a crime to possess even a small quantity of cocaine. If you’ve been charged with possession of cocaine for personal use, it will likely be charged as a misdemeanor, assuming that aggravating circumstances do not exist. However, if you have a prior felony conviction, or you were in possession of a firearm at the time you were found in possession of cocaine, you may be charged with a felony.
Penalties affixed to a misdemeanor cocaine possession conviction may include up to one year in County Jail, up to $1,000 in fines for a first offense, court-ordered drug education programs, community service, and probation. Penalties for a felony cocaine possession conviction may include up to four years in a California State Prison, probation, loss of firearm ownership rights, fines, and community service work. In addition, a felony conviction for cocaine possession may remain on your criminal record indefinitely.