Methamphetamines are considered dangerous drugs, and their presence and use in California is growing. Because of this, law enforcement and prosecutors are particularly interested in busting people for meth possession and punishing them severely. When you are accused of possessing meth, you need someone in your corner—someone who knows the law and who is interested in protecting your best interests.
Contact us right away to speak with a local California defense lawyer who can help you get the best results possible if you face a criminal possession charge in court.
You could be facing charges of meth possession because drugs were found on you when the police conducted a pat-down or a search of your vehicle. You don’t even have to have the drugs on your person to be charged and convicted—having them within your “control” or reach is enough to warrant the charges.
California Meth Possession Penalties
Simple methamphetamine possession or straight possession under California laws is charged as a misdemeanor under prop 47 sentence reductions. The prosecutor on your case will make this determination depending on a variety of factors including your criminal history and the facts of your case.
If you are charged with misdemeanor possession, you will face up to one year in jail.
There are several alternatives to incarceration available in California, however, and one could be a viable option for you.
Drug Courts & Sentencing Options
These courts were specifically created to cater to the unique needs of drug offenders. Participants in drug court programs are required to abide by certain terms including drug treatment and counseling. They may go before the judge once a week for review, to ensure compliance.
Proposition 36 is a program that requires one year of drug treatment. Depending on your needs, this could be inpatient or outpatient treatment.
Largely reserved for first-time offenders, deferred judgment (or, deferred entry of judgment) is a program that requires a period of probation. If you are successful on probation and remain arrest-free, the charges can be dismissed.
Possession for Sale of Methamphetamines
If you are accused of selling or intent to sell meth, you are facing serious felony charges. You only need to have a “usable amount” of methamphetamine and intend to sell it to be charged with this offense.
Transportation for Sale of Methamphetamines
To be charged with transporting meth, you need to also have a useable amount of meth, and intent to sell it. This offense typically goes together with a possession for sale offense, above.
This is also a serious felony offense, with state prison time as a consequence.
Meth Possession Legal Defense Strategies
There are many defense options available when you are facing meth possession charges.
Many of the above options are legitimate and practical strategies for avoiding the most serious consequences of a methamphetamine possession conviction in CA.
Which strategy is right for you depends on the facts of your case, any criminal history, and many other considerations specific to your unique situation. A criminal defense attorney can help you determine the best course of action, contact us for a personalized case review.
Meth use and manufacture in California
Fresno and California’s Central Valley has been known in the past as a “hub of the nation’s methamphetamine network,” and home to untold numbers of meth addicts, according to the Sacramento Bee. Some say the television show “Breaking Bad” glamorized the meth market in the United States.
Methamphetamines began in the 80s and 90s as the “poor man’s cocaine”. Meth is made in home labs, and sometimes on the fly using the newer “Shake and Bake” method. But, in rural California, farms with outbuildings are becoming homes for new major meth manufacturing organizations. There are said to be more of these “superlabs” in California than anywhere else in the nation.
Some of these superlabs are connected to Mexican drug cartels. In 2012, 24 members of La Familia Michoacana were arrested with a combined 14 pounds of meth, 30 gallons of meth solution, 17 firearms, and over $100,000 in cash.
For people who want to make the meth themselves, there is a “simple” recipe being circulated that allows them to mix up the dangerous solution in a 2 liter bottle. Called “shake and bake,” this method is very dangerous, and according to the San Francisco Gate, filling up the nation’s burn units.
Officials caution would-be users that meth is not like marijuana, it is not some “harmless” substance. According to one defense attorney, “It’s not illegal because we don’t want people to feel better. It’s illegal because it makes good people do crazy things.”
Meth has an energizing effect that last much longer than cocaine. Meth addicts sometimes stay awake for days on end. This lack of sleep combined with chemical reactions in the brain can cause psychosis and hallucinations. There are countless stories of meth users doing crazy things, hurting people close to them or themselves while under the influence.
It’s precisely because of these dangers that prosecutions for meth distribution and manufacture offenses are so severe. People charged with felony crimes related to methamphetamines can expect to face serious consequences in the California courts.