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Possession and Sales of a Controlled Substance

Possession of a controlled substance is a crime in California. However, possession with intent to sell is a much more serious crime with more severe consequences. It is unfortunate, but most people who are arrested for drug related charges are typically addicts who require some sort of treatment for their addiction. But, what they face if convicted, may include:

1. Probation;
2. 1 year in County Jail; or
3. 2, 3 or 4 years in a California State Prison.

Possession for sale of marijuana is a felony and is punishable by up to 4 years in State Prison.

Crimes involving illegal drugs may include any of the following:

1. Possession for personal use;
2. Possession of drugs with intent to sell or distribute;
3. Trafficking, transporting, buying, or selling;
4. Distribution
5. Cultivating or manufacturing; and
6. Conspiracy to do any of the above.

To prove intent to sale, the prosecution does not need to prove that you sold anything, only that you intended to. This proof can be made based on the following:

1. The amount of drugs found;
2. Other items found such as baggies or scales;
3. Conversations with undercover officers or informants; and
4. High volume of traffic to and from you residence.

When a police officer arrests someone for possession of narcotics, they will almost always take possession of that person’s cell phone. They will review the text messages looking for any sign of sales, whether it is the person looking to buy something or, whether someone is requesting to buy from that person. Often if the text messages reveal that the person is looking to buy, the officers will pressure the person into revealing who their supplier is. This is one way police officers are able to find and arrest people for drug sales.

There are drug related charges that may be prosecuted as misdemeanors. They include: possession of marijuana, being under the influence of a drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Fortunately, there are defenses to all of these crimes. Some include:

1) Illegal search and/or seizure;
2) No intent to sell;
3) Lack of possession; and
4) Lack of knowledge.

If convicted of a drug related charge, alternatives to jail and or prison time should be the goal of your attorney. There are many drug rehabilitation programs available for those who can afford it. There are also “sober living” houses, which typically are more affordable and are designed more for those who are on their way to recovery. Sober living houses are a sort of second step in the recovery process and can be a very successful tool for someone who is serious about getting and staying sober.

Other alternatives include Prop 36 and PC 1000. For more information on these programs see the link provided.

Every county and every courthouse has it’s own way of doing things. It is important to have an attorney who is familiar with how things work in the County where your case is pending. An attorney who is experienced in defending drug related charges and who has a good relationship with the Judges, prosecutors, probation officers and the court staff, will be in a much better position to get the best possible outcome for their client.


If you would like to know more about drug related charges, contact Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney William Weinberg at his Irvine office at 949-474-8008 or at www.williamweinberg.com.