What To Expect if You’re Arrested for Drug Possession in Redwood City, CA
September 8, 2023 | Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law
If you find yourself arrested for drug possession in California, it can be a stressful situation. Understanding what lies ahead can ease anxiety and allow you to make informed decisions regarding how best to navigate your charges.
What is Drug Possession?
In California, the Health and Safety Code § 11350(a) classifies unlawful possession of a controlled substance as a misdemeanor. This includes both unauthorized possession of legal prescription drugs along with possession of illegal drugs.
The prosecutor assigned to such cases needs to establish key elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted:
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Lack of Prescription
- Knowledge of the Substance’s Presence
- Knowledge of the Nature of The Substance
- Usable Amount
If all of these elements cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then you cannot be convicted.
After You’re Arrested
After the arrest for drug possession, it’s crucial to stay calm and say as little as possible while the legal process unfolds. You’ll need to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney right away once you arrive at the police station. Alternatively, you can call someone you trust, like a friend or relative, to hire one if you’re unable to.
Your lawyer can then assist during your bail hearing, aiming for your release from jail, and ensuring fair bail terms.
Understand the Potential Penalties
Understanding potential penalties is a crucial part of knowing what to expect after you’ve been charged with drug possession.
A conviction for this crime could lead to imprisonment in a county jail for one year, receive a fine of up to $1,000, or both. In some cases, the judge might impose misdemeanor (or summary) probation as an alternative to jail time.
Other Potential Consequences
It’s critical to know that drug possession convictions can carry additional repercussions, often referred to as collateral consequences. For instance, individuals who are not U.S. citizens may face immigration consequences, including denial of citizenship or deportation.
Such convictions could also affect your right to possess firearms under certain circumstances.
Drug Diversion Program
California offers an alternative option for those facing drug charges under Penal Code 1000 PC. This law allows eligible defendants to participate in a pretrial drug diversion program.
This involves attending education and treatment programs prior to the case heading to court. Upon successful completion of this program, the original charges are dismissed.
Consequently, there will be no conviction appearing on your criminal record, which will make your future much easier in terms of employment and housing opportunities.
Expect Your Attorney To Raise Legal Defenses
As you navigate through the litigation process, rely on your attorney to build and present strong legal defenses on your behalf. Some common defenses used in drug possession cases include the following:
This defense involves asserting that you didn’t actually possess the drugs in question. Your attorney could argue that the controlled substances were someone else’s, or they might refute whether you had control over the item based on location, particularly in situations involving shared living spaces.
If the controlled substance in question was prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider for a legitimate medical purpose, this can serve as an effective defense.
Unlawful Search And Seizure
The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant or some other exception that allows them to search you or your property. If the police do not comply with these procedures and discover a controlled substance as a result, your attorney may be able to have this evidence excluded from trial.
Understanding these legal defenses can help make sure you’re on the same page as your criminal defense lawyer, which can provide a better outcome.
Contact a Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney
Facing a drug possession charge can be an intimidating and overwhelming process. However, with a clear understanding of what to expect at each stage, from the arrest through the court proceedings and potential defenses, you’ll be better prepared to navigate this challenging journey.
Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law – San Jose Office
1625 The Alameda, Suite 405 San Jose, CA 95126
Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law – Redwood City Office
600 Allerton St Suite 201G, Redwood City, CA 94063