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Understanding the Penalties for Drug Possession, Sale or Manufacturing

Persons accused of possessing, selling or manufacturing drugs in California face hefty penalties and incarceration if convicted. If you or someone you know is facing drug-related charges, it’s important to be familiar with the various penalties that come with different drug crimes charges.

Possessing, selling or manufacturing a controlled substance that has no medical benefit, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, is always illegal in California. However, possession of other controlled substances that have medical benefits is also illegal if there is no prescription.

California’s drug laws are complex, and the penalties differ based upon various factors, like a person’s criminal history, and influence whether prosecutors will seek a misdemeanor or felony conviction.

In general, a misdemeanor conviction for drug possession carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and no more than a $70 fine. In cases where the court grants probation to first-time offenders, community service or a fine of at least $1,000 must be ordered. If an individual is a repeat offender, then any fine imposed must be at least $2,000.

Felony drug possession convictions carry a sentence of up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Individuals possessing controlled substances with the intent to sell them or those who purchase a controlled substance with the intent to sell can be sentenced to up to four years in jail and fined up to $20,000 under section 11351 of California’s Health and Safety Code.

The creation and manufacturing of a controlled substance by compounding, converting, producing, deriving or even preparing by chemical extraction or synthesis is also illegal in California. Those convicted of manufacturing face a prison sentence of up to seven years and a maximum fine of $50,000.

The court can, however, increase the length of the sentence imposed, commonly referred to as “punishment enhancement,” if certain other factors exist, such as the drugs were made where someone under the age of 16 lived.

Even the mere offer to manufacture a controlled substance can land you in trouble. Individuals who offer to manufacture illegal drugs can be sentenced up to five years even if the manufacturing process never actually took place.

Given the complexity of California’s drug laws, it is best to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can aid you in understanding the nuances of these laws.

With over 20 years of collective experience as both prosecutors and defense attorneys, we know how to fight drug charges. Call Strategic Law Command, located in Roseville, California, at (916) 787-1234 or contact us online to set up a consultation.