Cocaine possession California is one of the most common drug charges in California. Even small amounts of cocaine can lead to charges if the police think that you intended to sell or give it to someone else.
Because of the high potential for abuse, cocaine is a Schedule II drug with no medical use. However, a Los Angeles cocaine possession lawyer could help you qualify for a diversion program like Proposition 36 or Drug Court.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a highly addictive, powerful stimulant drug that causes euphoria and feelings of power and energy. It is extracted from coca leaves and sold in a white, crystalline powder or as “crack cocaine,” which resembles small, irregularly shaped pieces of white rock. Both forms of cocaine are illegal in the United States.
The drug acts as a central nervous system stimulant and increases the heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. It also changes the brain’s chemistry, making users talkative and more alert to sight, sound, and touch. Users may lose gray matter in their brains, which can make it harder to think and remember things.
Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance (drugs with accepted medical uses and high potential for abuse), while crack cocaine is a Schedule I drug (drugs with a high potential for abuse that have no accepted medical use). Both substances are regulated in California. Possession is defined as the act of having actual physical control over an illegal drug, and it is a misdemeanor under state law.
Possession of Cocaine
Possession of cocaine can be a felony or misdemeanor depending on the amount and purpose of the possession. If the police think you had cocaine for personal use and no intention of sharing it or selling it, your attorney may be able to convince the court to give you probation instead of incarceration. A criminal record can make it more difficult to find work and qualify for student loans.
The drug possession laws are very specific and based on Health and Safety Code 11350, it is illegal to possess any Schedule II substance without a prescription from a doctor. It is possible to have constructive possession of cocaine even if you don’t have it on your person, like when it is found in your home or car or in the possession of someone else who you gave it to.
Fortunately, for non-violent first time offenders, Proposition 36 (Penal Code Section 1000) provides the option to go through drug treatment in exchange for a probation sentence. However, only a knowledgeable local cocaine defense attorney can tell you how strong the case against you is and what your best options are for legal defenses.
Possession with Intent to Sell
Cocaine possession with intent to sell is a felony offense and will likely result in jail time and heavy fines. A conviction can also make it difficult to find a job and even harder to rent or own a home. Additionally, a criminal record will often make it impossible to obtain student loans or scholarships.
Unlike regular possession, prosecutors will charge you with possession with intent to sell for any amount of cocaine in your possession that exceeds a typical quantity for personal use. This is especially true if the police believe that you planned to distribute the drug.
Our team can raise reasonable doubt with the judge and jury, which could result in a not-guilty verdict or a dismissal of the charges against you. We can also negotiate a drug diversion program for first-time offenders. This is where you agree to participate in treatment and education in exchange for your cocaine charge being dismissed.
Possession with Intent to Distribute
Possession of cocaine with intent to distribute is a serious charge that is considered a felony in California. This crime carries with it substantial jail time and large fines. If you have been charged with this offense, it is vital that you consult a drug attorney right away.
In order for prosecutors to charge someone with possession with intent, they must have evidence that the individual had both actual and constructive possession of the cocaine. They must also have proof that the person intended to distribute or sell the drug. This is why it is important to have a defense team that can raise reasonable doubt with the judge and jury so that you are found not guilty of this charge.
If this is your first drug charge or it has been a long time since you have had any prior drug convictions, you may be eligible for programs such as Proposition 36 or drug court that will result in your case being dismissed. We can help you determine whether these are viable options for your case.