There are a number of California drug laws that apply to the possession, production and sale of methamphetamine, a drug that has become increasingly popular in Los Angeles and Southern California in recent years, and the penalties imposed on those who violate these laws are steep. Whether you are facing charges for methamphetamine possession, meth possession for sale, distribution of meth or meth manufacturing, you need to speak to a criminal defense attorney with experience defending clients against drug-related crimes. Our accomplished drug defense lawyers at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles are committed to protecting your legal rights, and we will ensure that you understand the criminal charges against you and what defense strategies are available to you. We know the best and most effective ways to fight meth possession charges in Los Angeles and will exhaust all options in an effort to have your charges reduced or dismissed, so you can move on with your life.
Affordable Methamphetamine Defense Attorney in Los Angeles
Regardless of the circumstances of your methamphetamine case, it is imperative that you consult a defense attorney that has experience defending meth possession cases right away. At Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles, our lawyers are knowledgeable and resourceful, and we will build the strongest possible case based on your individual situation. If you want to avoid going to court, we can negotiate with the prosecution to seek a favorable plea deal possibly including a reduction in charges or an agreement on sentencing. For example, under Proposition 47, you may have the opportunity to participate in a drug diversion program rather than serve time in jail. Formerly known as “Deferred Entry of Judgment,” California drug diversion programs are intended to mitigate the steep penalties associated with drug convictions and allow certain first-time drug offenders in Los Angeles to undergo treatment rather than facing jail time and other harsh criminal penalties for methamphetamine possession. If your drug case does go to trial, our criminal defense attorneys will do everything in their power to protect your rights and help you reach a satisfactory conclusion to your case.
Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as “meth” or “crystal meth,” is a highly addictive synthetic drug typically found as a powder or crystal that can be smoked, snorted, crushed or dissolved in a liquid and injected. Meth is classified as a stimulant and has effects similar to cocaine and crack, creating in users a euphoric sensation that can last for up to 12 hours at a time. Meth abuse and addiction is a serious, widespread problem in the United States, and possessing enough methamphetamine to use or sell is a violation of California drug laws. Most drug possession crimes are covered under California Health and Safety Code § 11350 HSC, which prohibits the possession of drugs like cocaine, opiates, heroin and certain prescription medications. Methamphetamine possession, however, is covered under California Health and Safety Code § 11377 HSC, which makes it unlawful to possess methamphetamine and other controlled substances for personal use.
Conviction for Methamphetamine Health and Safety Code § 11377 HSC
If you are found to have meth on your person or in your home or vehicle, you could be arrested for meth possession, even if the drugs weren’t yours and you weren’t planning to use them or sell them. However, just because you have been arrested for or charged with meth possession does not mean you are automatically guilty of the crime. It is up to the prosecutor assigned to your case to provide irrefutable evidence that you knowingly possessed methamphetamine with the intent to use or distribute the illegal drug, and this is no easy task. In order to convict you for possession of methamphetamine in Los Angeles, the California prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the criminal offense, including that:
- You unlawfully possessed methamphetamine;
- You knew it to be a controlled substance; and
- There was a sufficient amount of the drug, not just traces or residue.
How is Simple Possession Different from Possession for Sale?
Under California law, possessing a “personal” amount of methamphetamine is known as “simple possession,” and this type of possession can be further identified as actual or constructive. Actual possession of meth means the drug is found physically on your person, in your pockets, wallet or purse, for example. Constructive possession of meth, on the other hand, means you have the authority and power to control the drug without having physical control of it. According to the law, if you have constructive possession of methamphetamine, you are in the same legal position as a person with actual possession of the drug. This means that if methamphetamine is found in your car or in your home, the law treats the crime just like it would if the drug was found in your pocket.
Because it is an illegal drug that can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health and well-being, methamphetamine is considered a controlled substance, and a person caught possessing a controlled substance for use or for sale may be subject to severe penalties. In determining whether a meth crime constitutes simple possession or possession for sale, prosecutors and law enforcement will consider several factors, including the amount of methamphetamine possessed, and whether there was any evidence of the defendant being involved in the sale of meth, such as the presence of drug packaging materials, scales for weighing the drug, large amounts of cash or methamphetamine, or text messages discussing drug sales.
Penalties for a Methamphetamine Conviction
Under Proposition 47, an initiative passed by California voters in 2014 to reduce the consequences associated with certain drug-related offenses, many drug possession crimes that were once felony level offenses are now prosecuted as misdemeanor crimes, including methamphetamine possession. Even though meth possession is no longer a felony, the drug crime is still aggressively enforced and those arrested for meth possession may face jail time and other potential criminal penalties. Under California Health and Safety Code § 11377 HSC, simple meth possession is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines, plus other potential penalties, such as random drug testing, probation and mandatory drug treatment. However, if the defendant has a prior conviction for a serious or violent felony or a crime that requires sex offender registration, meth possession becomes a “wobbler,” which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense.
Other more serious methamphetamine-related offenses are still charged as felonies carrying much more severe criminal penalties. For instance, possessing meth with the intent to sell (California Health and Safety Code § 11378 HSC) carries a potential sentence of up to three years in county jail, while selling or transporting meth (California Health and Safety Code § 11379 HSC) carries a potential sentence of up to four years in state prison, and manufacturing meth (California Health and Safety Code § 11379.6 HSC) carries a potential sentence of up to seven years in state prison. Even possessing the materials to manufacture meth can result in felony charges under California Health and Safety Code § 11383.5 HSC, which makes it illegal to possess pseudoephedrine and other meth ingredients with the intent to manufacture the drug. The criminal penalties associated with methamphetamine manufacturing charges can be enhanced further if children are present or involved in the production of meth, if someone is injured or killed during manufacturing, or if the defendant has one or more prior convictions for drug crimes.
Defenses to Methamphetamine Charges
If you are facing charges for California meth possession or another meth-related crime, it is not the end of the world. There are a number of defenses an experienced drug defense attorney can raise on your behalf, to explain or justify your alleged behavior and challenge the prosecution’s case against you, including the following:
- Drugs were discovered during an improper search
- You did not actually or constructively possess the meth
- You did not know the substance in your possession was meth
- You are the victim of mistaken identity
- You had been falsely accused
Hiring a Knowledgeable Methamphetamine Defense Attorney in Los Angeles
In response to the growing problem of methamphetamine addiction in California, police continue to aggressively investigate crimes related to meth possession and trafficking, and California prosecutors are doing everything in their power to get their convictions. Those convicted of meth-related crimes in Los Angeles could face lengthy prison sentences, substantial fines and other potential penalties that could impact the rest of their life. If you are facing criminal charges for methamphetamine possession in Los Angeles, don’t hesitate to protect your legal rights. Our drug defense lawyers at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles have a comprehensive understanding of California drug laws and know which defense strategies are most effective in methamphetamine cases. Call us today at (213) 205-3100 to discuss your legal options with a qualified Los Angeles drug defense attorney.