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Home » Drug Crime Lawyer » Drug Possession Lawyer

California Drug Possession Attorney – Health and Safety Code 11350(a) HS

Should You Hire A Drug Possession Lawyer?

In California, unlawful possession of a controlled substance is a misdemeanor offense under Health and Safety Code 11350(a). Controlled substances include illegal street drugs and certain prescription drugs possessed without a valid prescription for medical use. My Rights Law experienced drug crime lawyer can help you fight to have the charges reduced or even dropped on any drug possession charge the prosecutor throws at you. Call us at (888) 702-8882 or use our secure web form to take advantage of your free consultation today.

What Does Possession Of A Controlled Substance Mean?

Health and Safety Code 11350(a) HS Possession of a controlled substance is generally defined as having in your possession, or having control over, a narcotic or drug that is illegal under state or federal law, for which you do not have a valid prescription.[1] The prosecutor must prove the following five elements for a defendant to be convicted of a possession charge:

  1. There was a controlled substance in the defendant’s possession,
  2. The accused didn’t have a prescription for the drug,
  3. The defendant was aware of the substance’s presence,
  4. It was known to the defendant that the substance was a controlled substance, and
  5. A usable amount of the controlled substance was present.

Under the United States Controlled Substance Act, the following substances provide that the following drugs are illegal:

  • Fentanyl,
  • Cocaine, and
  • LSD

Possession under the Controlled Substance Act is whenever someone has control over the substance. This can be done personally or through another person. For example, an individual does not need to be physically in control of the drug to be charged with possessing a controlled substance. This is known as constructive possession.

However, merely agreeing to purchase a controlled substance does not mean they possess the drug. However, two individuals may possess a controlled substance at the same time. For example, someone who owns a building where a controlled substance is developed may be in possession of the controlled substance if the person knows about the presence of the controlled substance. Additionally, the person making the drugs may also be in possession of the controlled substance.

What Are The Defenses To 11350(a) HS Drug Possession Charges?

To challenge charges of possession of a controlled substance, a defendant can raise a legal defense.

There are three common defenses to HS 11350 accusations:

  1. No possession,
  2. Legal prescription, or
  3. Illegal search and seizure.

Under this code section, a person is deemed guilty only if they “possessed” a drug. Legal defenses include showing that the defendants were not in actual or constructive possession of the drug. In most circumstances, the defendant is not liable if they had a valid prescription from one of the following:

  • Doctor,
  • Dentist,
  • Podiatrist, or
  • Vet[2]

To be convicted of drug possession, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant possessed a controlled substance and that they did not have a prescription for the controlled substance.

However, law enforcement authorities may not find evidence through an unreasonable search and seizure. Suppose the authorities obtained the information through an unreasonable search and seizure. In that case, likely, the evidence will not be admissible, or in some circumstances, the case may be dismissed.

Is 11350(a) HS Drug Possession A Felony or Misdemeanor In California?

In California, possession of drugs to be used for personal use is usually charged as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Penalties include:

  • Up to one year in county jail and /or
  • A fine of up to $1,000

In some circumstances, someone found to possess narcotics may face felony drug charges. For example, if a defendant has a previous felony conviction, they may be charged with felony drug possession, resulting in up to three years in jail.

People who commit non-violent drug possession will generally qualify for a drug diversion program or drug court, allowing them to complete their sentence without going to prison or jail.

Can A Conviction For Illegal Possession Be Expunged?

In some situations, a drug possession conviction may be expunged from your record. Under California law, an expungement removed the entire charge and conviction from the record. A defendant may be eligible for expungement if the applicant:

  • Completes probation, and
  • Is not in jail, on probation, or being charged with a criminal offense.

Once the defendant completes their sentence and pays their fines (if applicable) for possession of a controlled substance, they may try and get the offense expunged from their records.

How Does A Possession Conviction Affect A Person’s Gun Rights?

Additionally, under California law, the convicted party’s gun rights may be adversely affected by a conviction for possession of a controlled substance because felons are not allowed to acquire or possess a gun. Therefore, if it is a felony drug possession charge, gun ownership may not be allowed in the future.

Why Choose My Rights Law?

When you are charged with a crime, you may wish to find the right attorney and law firm for you. How do you know which firm is right for you? Before you make your decision, consider these questions.

Case Results

The best law firms are not shy about sharing their case results. That’s why we make it easy for you. You may browse our proven case results here. As you review these results, keep in mind that each case has different facts, and each client has different goals. Thus, a favorable outcome can take many forms. You may be able to avoid jail time by getting your charge reduced. Serving probation or getting a mental health diversion are also considered wins in our clients’ books. Our proudest wins are dismissals and not guilty verdicts.


Listen to what our previous clients have said about us.

Hiring A California Criminal Defense Attorney To Fight Your Criminal Charges

My Rights Law‘ drug possession attorney can help if the police accuse you of a drug possession crime. It is our specialty to handle criminal law cases, and we know how to represent our clients facing drug possession charges. You can count on our award-winning firm with years of experience and successful case results. We strive to aggressively, diligently, and strategically defend all of our clients. No matter how determined prosecutors are, we aren’t intimidated or shrink in fear when odds don’t seem to be in our favor. Call us at (888) 702-8882 or contact us online using our secure form to take advantage of your free consultation today.

Other drug crimes we defend include: Drug Distribution

[1] California Health and Safety Code 11350 HS
[2] California Health and Safety Code 11350 HS

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