What Penalties Could You Face if You’re Convicted of a Drug Crime in California?

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It’s easy to fall into the habit of thinking that anything goes since you’re in California. But, if you’re ever convicted of a drug crime, you’ll find that California isn’t nearly as laid back as the media suggests.

Just how severe the consequences are when it comes to a drug conviction in California depends on several different factors.

These factors include the following:

If this is a first offense

  • The type of drugs you were caught with
    If you’re convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor
  • The amount and type of drugs you were caught with
  • Your previous criminal history

If you were convicted of additional crimes that are linked to the same drug charges

If you are convicted of misdemeanor simple drug possession in California, you could be sentenced to spend a full year in a county jail and/or to pay a $1,000 fine. In some cases, the judge will opt for misdemeanor probation. This particular conviction could impact your legal right to own a gun and will likely impact your immigration (when applicable.)

California’s Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS comes into play if you’re convicted of manufacturing illegal narcotics. The types of drugs you can be convicted of under this law include:

  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Heroin
  • 0piates

The manufacturing of these types of drugs in California is always a felony. The potential sentence could involve 3, 5, or 7 years in one of California’s prisons. This is a conviction that will impact your gun ownership rights.

Don’t assume that just because you have prescription drugs rather than manufactured street drugs, you’ll get off lightly. The illegal possession of controlled substances is discussed in California’s Health and Safety Code 11350a HS.

Most cases of possession of a controlled substance in California involve:

  • Codeine
  • Vicodin
  • Valium
  • Ketamine
  • Oxycontin
  • Xanax

If the only thing you’re convicted of is the possession of a  controlled substance in California, the maximum sentence is a year in a county jail. In some cases, the judge will accept enrollment in a drug recovery program in lieu of jail time.

If you’re convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia in California, the maximum sentence is six months in a county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

One of the things you should keep in mind is that in California, the sentences for some drug-related crimes become more severe based on your profession. Contractors, teachers, lawyers, real estate agents, etc., are subject to a harsher sentence.