California Laws Regarding Possession Of A Controlled Substance

California Health & Safety Code 11350 makes it a crime for anyone to be in possession of a controlled substance. Possession of a controlled substance has nothing to do with under the influence of a controlled substance or possession of a controlled substance for sales. Simply being in possession is enough to be convicted. As an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney, practicing law in Orange County for 20 years, I have gained invaluable experience and information with regard to how cops and the District Attorney build their cases. This has given me an advantage when it comes to preparing a defense for my clients.

Possession of a controlled substance is what is known as a “wobbler”, meaning that it may be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the circumstances and prior criminal history. Penalties if convicted include fines and up to three years in State Prison. For this reason, an experienced criminal defense attorney, specializing in drug possession cases, should be consulted.

Some defenses that should be explored are: 1) Was there probable cause to stop and search you; 2) Who did the drugs belong to; and 3) Maybe you are an addict and need treatment rather than punishment. However, if it turns out that the evidence is such that a guilty plea/verdict is inevitable, my goal is always to find an alternative to jail or prison time. For example, serving time in a drug program would be my goal if the judge and prosecution are determined that time must be served.

Anyone being accused of a crime in Orange County, California, should seek the advise of an attorney who is familiar with all the Courts in Orange County. An attorney who has a good working relationship with the individual Judges, District Attorneys, Court Clerks and Probation Department, as well as the Court staff, will be better able to get your charges reduced and/or dismissed. An attorney familiar with the Courts in which a case is pending will result in the best possible outcome available.

If you would like to know more about possession of a controlled substance or any drug related offense, contact Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney William M. Weinberg at his Irvine, California office at 949-474-8008 or at