Definition and Aspects of Controlled Substance Possession:
Historically, drug usage and addiction have caused immeasurable devastation on the lives of citizens, as well as the communities we work hard to uphold. Recognizing the tremendous effect drug-related crimes have left behind, the California legislature established laws targeting the possession, usage, and sale of illegal drugs. Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11350 (HSC 11350), possession of a controlled substance had become one of the most frequently charged drug-related crimes. Even the smallest abuse of California Health and Safety Code Section 11350 (HSC 11350) is not tolerated, and if violated, can lead to a conviction, and in some cases, even prison time.
For you to be prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance in court, prosecutors must prove the following:
- The Defendant unlawfully possessed a controlled substance
- The Defendant knew of its presence
- The Defendant knew of the substance’s nature of the character as a controlled substance
- The controlled substance was in a useable amount
A useable amount is defined as the quantity that is enough to be used by someone as a controlled substance. The dosage does not have to be big enough to actually affect the user; however, debris or traces not consumable do not qualify as usable amounts.
Example of Drugs Considered Controlled Substances:
Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11350 HSC, possession of the below list of drugs that are considered controlled substances:
- Prescription painkillers (without a valid prescription)
- Other hallucinogens
Constructive possession of the drug also puts a person in violation of this statute. Constructive possession simply means that the drugs were not found in immediate access of the Defendant, but rather in a place he/she has control over—for example, a safe, a drawer, or a closet.
Possession of Controlled Substances Related Criminal Offenses:
Similar or related criminal offenses include:
- Possession of Marijuana – California Health & Safety Code Section 11157 HSC
- Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance – California Health & Safety Code Section 11550 HSC
- Possession, Sales and Transportation of Methamphetamines – California Health & Safety Code Section 11377, 11378 and 11379 HSC
- Possession of a Controlled Substance for Sale – California Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC
- Sales and Transportation of Controlled Substances – California Health & Safety Code Section 11352 HSC
Examples of Possession:
A man attends a party where his friend hands him a small amount of cocaine in a clear bag. The man does not want the drug, but as to not offend the friend, he puts the substance in his wallet and forgets about it. Days later, the man gets pulled over by the police for unrelated issues. During the search of his person, the police discover the clear bag of cocaine, and although the amount was small, it was still useable, and the man could be charged with possession of a controlled substance under California Health and Safety Code Section 11350 (HSC 11350).
On the other hand, if the man decided to take the small bag of cocaine with the intention of turning it in at the local police station and was stopped on his way there, he would not be guilty of a crime. In this scenario, his possession was momentary, and only with the intention of safely disposing of it and was not trying to hide it from the authorities.
Defenses to Possession of a Controlled Substance:
Just like in the example above, if the possession was momentary and for the purpose of safely disposing of the substance, the Defendant would not be liable for drug possession.
Another defense for possession questions the legality of the search or seizure that resulted in the substance being discovered. If the Defendant can prove the search or seizure was illegal and not supported by a probable cause, the drugs may be suppressed. In this case, the case would have to be dismissed by the Judge.
Consequences and Penalty for Possession of a Controlled Substance:
Possession of a controlled substance, under California Health and Safety Code Section 11350 (HSC 11350), is a felony-level offense that can result in long-lasting consequences, including prison. It is imperative that if you are charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
For an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney in your corner, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance California Health and Safety Code Section 11350 (HSC 11350). Book a free consultation today.