Methamphetamine, sometimes referred to as "meth," has by far been the most pervasive drug linked to several California drug offenses. Since the drug's usage is on the rise, law enforcement officers are aggressive in cracking down and charging individuals caught with it. If you're a Long Beach resident facing allegations of possessing meth, you should contact a competent drug crime defense attorney to assist you in defending your case.
It's worth noting that the state takes drug-related offenses quite severely. For this reason, you'll need the assistance of a professional drug crime lawyer to help you defend these allegations. We at the Long Beach Criminal Attorney have the experience and tenacity to defend your rights. We'll look into your case and gather facts to help you defend the accusations you've been charged with.
Understanding Possession of Methamphetamine Under California Law
To have a better understanding of the essence of the offense, we look at the details that make it up. To begin with, meth is renowned as a controlled drug in California. A controlled substance is regulated under law and includes prescription drugs as well as illegal narcotics like cocaine. A controlled substance is categorized into 4 schedules, I-IV. In this case, methamphetamine is classified as a schedule II drug. Since methamphetamine is a drug, it can only be obtained with a prescription from a certified medical professional like a doctor, nurse, or veterinarian.
Meth is a bitter-tasting substance that causes the user to experience tremendous excitement. In addition, the substance is extremely addictive. Meth is often used as a stimulant in medicine to treat individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD, or, in rare cases, to help obese patients lose weight.
When taken, the drug harms the user's central nervous system, which can be lethal. Crystal meth is easily accessible in California due to its ease of production, thus explaining why it is often abused. For this reason, strict restrictions have been put in place to control the production, manufacturing, distribution, and consumption of methamphetamine to prevent its misuse.
California's HSC 11377 makes it illegal for an unlicensed individual to possess methamphetamine, anabolic steroids, ketamine, or Gammy hydroxybutyric Acid. The sanctions for possessing any of the listed narcotics above are the same. This law also applies to anybody caught in the custody of meth or any of the medicines listed in Schedules III, IV, or V, respectively. Methamphetamine is also known as crystal, blue, meth, or crystal meth in some areas.
Nurses, doctors, veterinarians, and other accredited medical professionals are exempt from the legislation's restrictions, as outlined by Federal and California law. As a result, if a medical professional is caught in possession of meth, he or she will not be convicted under HSC 11377 until they present a license. Furthermore, you can't be charged with a crime for breaking this statute if you're under direct instructions from a licensed medical practitioner to pass, transport, or use the drug.
Elements of the Offense
Certain features of the crime should be present for it to fall under the purview of HSC 11377. If the elements of your crime fall beyond the scope of this offense, you will not be charged with possession of meth. These elements are as follows:
The phrase "possession of meth" could be confusing because most people believe you must have a hold of something to have it. The law, on the other hand, specifies three aspects in which you would be regarded as having the drug. This includes actual possession, constructive possession, and joint possession.
If meth is recovered from you in person, you could be charged with violating California's HSC 11377. That is, the controlled substances were on you, either on your hands or on your clothes, pockets, purse, or backpack. Active possession, on the other hand, does not include the results of a screening test, even if you have traces of meth in your blood sample. Such an offense will be prosecuted as having been committed while you were under the influence of the controlled drug
The violation also holds if the substance is not in the user's custody but within his or her reach. For example, you could keep it in your vehicle's glove compartment, trunk, residence, or any other location that you have control over. The features of constructive possession could be difficult to pinpoint because of their vast scope. If you've been accused of being in constructive possession of meth, you should speak with a lawyer to better understand the details of your case
Finally, if you and your friend have meth in your residence, you both have joint custody of the substance. As a result, both of you could face charges of methamphetamine possession. An allegation of joint possession of a controlled substance usually applies when the substance is kept in a shared location where both of you can easily reach it. However, if you were unaware that the substance was present in your home, you could be excluded from the accusations
Knowing That You Were in Possession Of A Controlled Substance
If you're accused of possessing meth while knowing it was illicit to do so, you could stand trial under HSC 11377. To be convicted of the offense, the defendant has to be aware that the substance they have in their custody is unlawful to carry without a valid prescription or have knowledge of the drug's nature.
You could also be punished under California HSC 11377 even though you don't know the substance's name but are conscious of its presence. For example, Sharon is caught in possession of several drugs in her handbag. When questioned about what the substance is, she says it's Vicodin, even though it's meth. Sharon bought methamphetamine from a street dealer even though she didn't have a prescription for it. Sharon could be found guilty of possessing meth in this case because, although she did not know the substance's name, she was aware that it was prohibited in her presence.
Ben, on the other hand, is handed a package of methamphetamine to deliver to his college friend by a neighbor. Ben has no idea what's inside the parcel. Since several of his classmates are suspected of using meth, law enforcement is given a warrant to inspect the college. During the inspection, the package in his backpack is uncovered, and the law enforcers learn that it had methamphetamine.
Ben can't be found guilty of possessing meth if he can demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that he had no idea the package included a controlled substance.
Amount Available for Use
The portion of methamphetamine found on you in person or within your custody should be sufficient to be swallowed, administered, or smoked for the prosecution to file a lawsuit under HSC 11337. As a result, if only minor traces of the substance are discovered in your custody, the allegations will be dismissed.
The Prosecutor Should Prove That
- He or she was fully aware that they had an illicit substance. It's worth noting that the accused doesn't need to know the substance; so long as they're aware that it's a regulated substance, they could be accused of the offense
- The accused either had methamphetamine on them or were in custody of it
- The defendant had the drug in his or her possession without a legitimate prescription or a physician's instruction
- The accused had a usable amount of meth on his person, not just traces
Penalties for Methamphetamine Possession
Under California law, the violation is classified as a misdemeanor crime. The penalty for the offense consists of a one-year prison sentence or paying hefty fines of up to $1,000. Before Proposition 47, the crime was classified as a wobbler, with the prosecution having the option of charging it as a felony or misdemeanor. Methamphetamine possession became a misdemeanor offense following the proposal if there were no obvious aggravating factors.
Proposition 47 was passed in November 2014 to aid in the rehabilitation of those who have been convicted of minor drug crimes that don't involve violence. The proposal calls for defendants to be punished with misdemeanor violations if they commit the offense of being in the custody of certain controlled drugs. Instead of facing felony sentence punishment, such individuals would be subjected to diversion probation and programs.
However, the violation could still result in a felony allegation. Assume the defendant has a history of committing serious offenses, such as murder, violent crimes, or sex crimes. In that instance, the defendant is ineligible to be convicted under Proposal 47's standards when he or she commits an offense of possessing methamphetamine. First-time lawbreakers are treated more leniently. If the defendant is found to be guilty of a felony violation of the Health and Safety Code, they could face a sentence of more than one year in prison, depending on the conditions of the offense.
For this reason, seeking the expertise of a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible ensures that your defense is strong; your legal counsel will strive to protect your interests, hoping for an acquittal or a reduction in sanctions. It could also help you avoid the various repercussions that arise from a methamphetamine possession crime conviction. Additional penalties that could have a long-term impact on your life include:
- Students who are indicted for this offense could be denied financial aid for their education
- You could encounter hardships in finding housing plans
- If you're going through a divorce, a record of methamphetamine possession could weaken your case
- You could lose a custody battle for your child
- Most jobs will deny you the opportunity to work if you have a criminal record
- Foreigners guilty of an offense would risk deportation and/or be declared ineligible to enter the country
What Are the Legal Defenses for Methamphetamine Possession Charges?
If you are accused of possessing methamphetamine, you should consult with an expert attorney to ensure that your defense is thorough. The following are some probable litigation elements that your lawyer could use to help you fight methamphetamine possession charges:
Illegal Seizure of the Substance
According to California PC 1538.5, an accused's attorney could file a petition to call into question the admission of evidence gathered during an improper search. In addition, if the proof against the defendant was gathered after he or she was arrested without reasonable grounds, the lawyer would ask the courts to suppress it. It is against the law to search without a search warrant. As a result, any evidence gathered in such conditions could be disregarded by the court, and the lawsuit against you would be invalidated if no more evidence is presented.
Once the prosecution brings a case against you, it's up to them to show the court that you're guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To do so, the prosecutor has to present credible evidence against you. If the prosecution fails in its obligation, your lawyer could request the court case be discharged due to insufficient evidence. Moreover, you can't be charged with the offense if the facts of your lawsuit don't match the elements of the offense.
Methamphetamine, as previously stated, can only be used with a prescription. As a result, proving that you have physician's orders for the methamphetamine in your possession does not constitute a violation of HSCode 11377. You could be freed from the allegations if you had methamphetamine on a doctor's recommendation; providing or administering medications to someone with a valid prescription is not a felony under this legislation. Your lawsuit could be dismissed if it is discovered that a valid prescription from a licensed medical practitioner is present.
If you didn't have meth but were wrongfully charged or set up for the offense, obtaining legal counsel and assistance is vital to protecting your rights. You're not responsible for this crime if you were not in constructive, joint, or actual possession of meth. A competent lawyer will be able to identify flaws in the case against you and demonstrate your innocence.
You Had No Idea You Were in Possession of a Controlled Substance
The accused has to be conscious that the drugs in his or her possession are controlled substances as part of the elements of the offense. As a result, if the accused and his or her attorney can show that the accused was unaware that the drug he or she was handling was regulated, the accusations against the defendant could be dropped.
Find a Long Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Being arrested for a violation doesn't mean you are automatically guilty. Your innocence can be proven and the allegations against you removed with the help of a competent attorney. At Long Beach Criminal Attorney, we provide excellent legal counsel and ensure that our clients' rights are protected. We are goal-oriented and tenacious in our pursuit of our client's best interests. For a free consultation, contact us at 562-308-7807.