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What are the consequences of possessing fentanyl in California?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2023 | Drug Crimes

Opioids have been a mounting issue in the United States, with fentanyl becoming a leading concern in recent years. This synthetic opioid can have an effect up to 100 times more potent than morphine and is highly addictive.

As a result, California law enforcement is working to stem the abuse of this dangerous substance with stiff penalties.

Charges for illegal fentanyl possession in California

Illicit fentanyl often comes in the form of powder, pills, nasal sprays or drops on blotter paper. Drug dealers often mix the drug with other substances. Any possession of fentanyl without a prescription is illegal in California.

Fentanyl possession can be a misdemeanor charge. Even so, the fines can reach $20,000, and an offender may have to spend a year in jail. When the court rules that the possession is a felony, the defendant may spend up to four years in prison.

A felony charge can occur if the defendant has a large amount of the drug or if the charges include drug transportation or the intent to sell. Individuals with violent or sexual offenses on their records are more susceptible to felony charges.

Other consequences of drug convictions

Misdemeanor convictions stay on one’s criminal record permanently. Though the state restricts the reporting of certain personal files, the charges remain indefinitely unless the individual does the work to obtain a dismissal from the court.

A felony may cause a person to lose a professional license in some fields. Felonies also initiate a firearms ban that a person may not be able to lift for a decade or more. Despite employment protections, a person might still have to disclose a conviction for certain jobs or licenses.

California takes accusations of fentanyl possession seriously. Defendants should be aware of how a conviction could change their lives.