Possession of Illegal Substances: Methamphetamine
In California, there are many different health and safety codes and statutes in place to protect citizens. Some of these focus on illegal substances, such as methamphetamine, and the consequences one may face for possessing them.
California Health and Safety Code § 11377
Being accused of possessing meth is a serious crime because it is a controlled substance under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act.
Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11377, the mere possession of meth is considered a misdemeanor, which involves a penalty of up to $1,000 and a year in prison. However, these repercussions can be far more severe, depending on how the drug was found and whether or not the prosecutors determined if there was an intent to sell or distribute the drug. Therefore, it stands to reason that you should be aware of the ways in which a prosecutor can prove meth possession. So…
What Does The Prosecutor Have to Prove in a Meth Possession California H&S Code § 11377 Criminal Case?
In order for a prosecutor to convict you of meth possession under Health and Safety Code Section 11377, they must be able to prove or show beyond reasonable doubt that:
(1) you had actual possession of the drug in question;
(2) you knew the drug was methamphetamine, a controlled substance, and
(3) you had possession of usable amounts of the drug, i.e. more than just trace amounts of methamphetamine.
What Are The Kinds of Meth Possession You May Be Charged With?
While the burden to prove these things falls on the State, you should be prepared with ample evidence to show otherwise, just in case they do manage to produce sufficient evidence in the courtroom.
Bear in mind there are two different kinds of possession for which you may be convicted. The first kind is actual possession, which entails that the authorities discovered the drug on your person, meaning in your pocket, clothes, or bag. The second kind is constructive possession, which simply means that the authorities found the drug in a place that you have access to, such as your house, car, or office. If you did not expressly admit to having knowledge of the illegal substance of methamphetamine being in your possession, the prosecutor will have to meticulously prove that through evidence.
Evidence can include the way you behaved or reacted during the search or arrest process. As an example, if you attempted to hide or get rid of the drug, then they could reasonably assume that you had knowledge of the drug and its illegality. However, assumptions can work against the prosecutor as well.
How Can You Protect Yourself Against Methamphetamine Possession Charges?
One of the first things your lawyer will do is to determine whether the police encounter that led up to the discovery of the meth was legal. In other words, the prosecutor cannot use evidence against you in a court of law if it was obtained illegally.
Remember that the police must adhere to strict laws which are upheld by the United States Constitution, including when they stop and search vehicles, when they enter into private property, and even when they arrest or detain someone on suspicion of illegal substance possession. Should a law enforcement agent knowingly, or inadvertently, violate the suspect’s constitutional rights, then your lawyer can request to suppress the evidence being presented against you.
Possession of Methamphetamine Defense Lawyers in California
There are many different avenues and possibilities that a lawyer can explore with you in order to best gauge what your next optimal move will be.
Getting charged with possession of a controlled substance may seem overwhelming and getting out of that situation even more so, but we will guide you through the criminal justice process and get you the best possible result. We invite you to give KAASS LAW a toll free call at 310-933-5171 to have a free consultation with our skilled defense attorneys.