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Penalties for Possession of Various Controlled Substances in California

A conviction for possessing a controlled substance in California can result in severe consequences — legally, personally, and professionally. The punishment for possession varies depending on the type of drug and the amount.

Controlled substances are those for which manufacture, distribution and use are restricted by the government. Under federal and state regulations, they are divided into these “schedules”:

  • Schedule I — Drugs in this category include heroin, LSD, and methaqualone. These drugs have no medicinal value.
  • Schedule II — Drugs in Schedule II such as cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, fentanyl and Adderall have a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
  • Schedule III — Schedule III drugs have a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence, and include ketamine, testosterone and methenolone.
  • Schedule IV— A variety of depressants, low-dosage narcotics and stimulants like Valium, Xanax, Ambien, Mazindol and Tramadol are considered Schedule IV drugs.
  • Schedule V— Schedule V substances have a lower potential for abuse than those in Schedules I through IV and include cough medicines, Buprenorphine, Robitussin AC, Lotomil and Motofen.

Possession for the purpose of selling a controlled substance can result in a felony conviction, carrying a prison sentence of two to four years and a maximum fine of $20,000. While there are several ways intent to sell can be shown, it is usually determined by the quantity of the substance and the storage of it. Evidence of scales or measuring tools, a large amount of cash and traffic in and out of a location may also be used by the prosecution to establish possession with intent to sell.

A first offense of possession of any controlled substance can be charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. A fine of $1,000 fine or community service may also be imposed. However, in many cases, a first-time offender may be able to have the charges brought against them dismissed by completing a drug diversion program.

Strategic Law Command provides reliable representation for clients facing drug crime charges throughout the Greater Sacramento area. Call (916) 787-1234or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Roseville office.