What Are the Penalties for Drug Possession?



Most people know that possession of an illegal drug will result in penalties. Quite simply, if you break the law, bad things will happen. However, confusion and ambiguity begins to creep in when it comes to the different kinds of penalties issued for different types of drug possession. The Law Offices of Elliott Kanter in San Diego are drug law experts, and we are here to break down the different penalties for drug possession and the laws surrounding drug possession in California.


Simple Possession Vs. Possession With Intent to Sell

The biggest difference when it comes to penalties for drug possession comes down to the distinction between simple possession versus possession with intent to sell. Here is what distinguishes these two charges:


  • Drug Possession Charge

Drug possession is when an individual is in possession of illegal drugs in an amount that would only be suitable for one person. Possession doesn’t necessarily mean you have drugs on your person, it just means that drugs are found in an area that is under your sole control. This can mean that drugs discovered in your home or vehicle will result in a possession charge, even if you are not present. However, in most cases, the individual must be aware that the drugs are present to be charged with possession. 


  • Drug Possession With Intent to Distribute


Drug possession charges in California are escalated to intent to distribute if it is believed that you intend to sell the drugs that you hold in your possession. Possession with intent to distribute typically has stricter penalties than simple possession charges. While the possession of a very large amount of drugs is usually the biggest precursor to an intent to distribute charge, the presence of drug paraphernalia, a large amount of money, a scale, packaging materials, or a record of communication with customers who wish to buy drugs can also lead to a intent to distribute charge.


Proposition 47 Changed Drug Possession Penalties in California

Each drug has a different charge for possession and possession with intent to sell, depending on the severity of the drug in the eyes of the law. However, Proposition 47 enacted widespread changes to drug possession penalties. The Prop, passed in 2014, made many drug possession crimes only punishable by a misdemeanor, and it also allows those currently in state prison for possession charges to ask the court for a resentencing.


Accused of Drug Charges in San Diego? Elliott Kanter Can Help

If you are accused of drug possession charges in San Diego, the Law Offices of Elliott Kanter can help. We specialize in criminal defense for drug possession charges, giving you the representation you need to get a fair and just sentence. If you want to learn more about California drug possession law and drug possession penalties or want to request a free consultation, contact The Law Offices of Elliott Kanter in San Diego. Give us a call today.

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