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Drug possession penalties in California

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2020 | Drug Crimes

Controlled substance crimes under California law include personal possession, possession with intent to sell and manufacturing. Offenders may receive significant fines and jail time, depending on the factors of the case, such as the amount of the specific substances. 

Before facing a California court date, understand the penalties for these convictions. 

Personal possession 

Possessing drugs for personal use is usually a misdemeanor in California under 2014’s Proposition 47 law. For a conviction, you could receive community service, up to $1,000 in fines and up to a year in jail. In some cases, however, heroin possession constitutes a felony that carries up to three years in prison. 

Possession with intent to sell 

Possession of a substantial amount of a controlled substance constitutes intent to sell, which is a felony in California and results in fines of up to $10,000. Selling ketamine carries up to three years in state prison. A conviction for heroin, MDMA or powder cocaine is punishable by up to four years in state prison, while methamphetamine and crack cocaine sales can result in up to five years in prison. 

Manufacturing and cultivating controlled substances 

This category represents the most serious California drug crimes. Depending on the substance and amount, the convicted person could receive fines of up to $50,000 and up to seven years in prison. Simply possessing the chemicals used in PCP and methamphetamine manufacture can result in up to six years in state prison. 

In addition to the base penalties listed above, some factors result in more stringent penalties. For example, an offender who has a previous criminal record could receive an extended sentence. He or she could also receive an additional two to three years in state prison for selling drugs to minors, selling in a school zone or using minors in a drug sales operation. Transporting drugs across California county lines is another aggravating factor that could result in an increased sentence.