Drug Possession in Vista and San Diego County
Is Possession of Drugs Illegal in California?
Prior to passage of Proposition 47 passed in 2014, possession of cocaine, heroin, and various other drugs were treated as felonies. Now, simple possession of any controlled substance, under California law, is a misdemeanor offense (Federal law may still consider it a crime). Simple possession of under an ounce of Marijuana by someone over 18 is no longer a crime in California.
If I am charged with Simple Possession of Drugs, Do I need an attorney?
Possession of methamphetamine, ketamine, ecstasy (all 11377a H&S) psilocybin (mushrooms), cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine (11350 H&S) are misdemeanors and San Diego County prosecutors will file criminal complaints if you knowingly possess a useable quantity. As a misdemeanor, hiring a private attorney means you would not have to appear in court, as I can make your court appearances on your behalf an in your absence.
Another benefit of hiring a private attorney on a simple possession charge is to thoroughly, legally analyze the case against you. Even with a simple possession (11377 or 11350 H&S) charge, the prosecution would have to prove that you:
- Knowingly possessed
- A useable quantity
- Of a controlled substance
- Without a prescription or defense.
Further, possession cases can often be dismissed if there is an illegal stop or search, by filing a Motion to Dismiss per 1538.5 PC. A cop must have specific, articulable facts to detain you or a vehicle you are in to legally detain you. Further, a search without probable cause of a crime being committed is illegal, and any “fruits” of that search would be rendered inadmissible against you. Knowing your rights, NEVER consenting to a search, and hiring an attorney can help you avoid the cost, time and embarrassment of a drug charge.
What is Pretrial Diversion, or PC1000?
The good news is that PC1000 was modified in 2018 to allow defendants charged with low-level drug related offenses (11350, 11357, 11358, 11368, 11364, 11365, 11375(B)(2), 11377, 11550 Health and Safety Code 23222(b) CVC, 653f(d) PC (soliciting someone to commit a crime to facilitate use of narcotics), 381 PC (Huffing), 647f (Public Intoxication) 4060 B&P (Possession of narcotics). Diversion previously required a plea of guilty first (the old “Deferred Entry of Judgment, or DEJ), but now Diversion can be granted prior to a guilty plea for qualified individuals.
How do I qualify for Diversion (PC 1000)?
- Possession must have been personal-use only;
- Defendant must likely benefit from drug treatment;
- Defendant has not been convicted of another drug offense within 5 years;
- There was no violence or threat of violence in the instant offense;
- Defendant has no prior felony conviction within 5 years; and
- There is no evidence of a contemporaneous violation relating to narcotics or restricted dangerous drugs other than a violation of the offenses listed in this subdivision.
If you do not Qualify for PC1000, you may still qualify for other programs such as Prop 36 or Drug Court.
Possession for Sale or Transportation for Sale (11351, 11352, 11378, 11379 H&S) are non-reducible felonies and do not qualify for Diversion (PC 1000).