Drug possession charges are often very serious for offenders, and even more so for repeat offenders. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t fight a charge before you go to court or when your court date finally shows up.
While you may not escape unscathed if you were found with drugs in your possession, there are some benefits to fighting a case. In cases with mitigating circumstances, you may even be able to fight and win the case – if you do your homework and prepare the right way.
Use this guide to educate yourself on how to fight a drug possession charge in the state of California after you hire a bail bondsman:
What are the California Drug Laws?
Both the federal government and the state of California generally determine penalties for drug possession based on the amount of the drug a person has in the possession at the time of the arrest and the ‘schedule’ of the drug. Drugs are scheduled – basically meaning that they are ordered – from schedule I to schedule V.
Schedule I drugs are those that tend to be the most addictive and have the highest risk of dependency. These drugs include cocaine, heroin, most hallucinogenic drugs, methamphetamine and certain types of amphetamines.
Schedule II drugs are dangerous and have a risk of abuse, but they may have medical benefits. These include methadone and surprisingly, opium and some types of amphetamines.
Schedule III drugs have a moderate risk of abuse but tend to be less dangerous, resulting in a reduced likelihood of overdose. These include anabolic steroids, ketamine and testosterone as well as some types of depressants.
Schedule IV drugs are typically prescription drugs – things like Xanax, Clonazepam and tranquilizers. They still pose a threat and risk of dependency, though they have legitimate medical uses.
Schedule V drugs are ones can be prescription-based or over the counter drugs. For example, both codeine and Tylenol are schedule V drugs, though having any prescription drug that wasn’t given to you by a doctor or pharmacist can still land you in hot water. Obviously over the counter drugs like Tylenol won’t get anyone arrested for drug possession and a bail bondsman is not needed.
What are California Drug Penalties?
After you are arrested for drug possession you will likely be able to get a bail bondsman to help you get out of jail so you don’t have to wait on a court date. However, a bail bondsman won’t help you to understand the charges against you in most cases.
While a lot of the penalties that can be levied against a person have to do with their criminal record, there are some benefits to hiring a lawyer to fight the case. Even if you’re convicted, you may be able to get a sentence that doesn’t include jail time.
Using Proposition 36, your attorney may be able to help you get one year of drug treatment in return. The level of care and cure required for the inpatient and outpatient rehab treatment or other types will be determined by the Department of Health. You may also be eligible for drug court, which allows you to live at home, getting monthly drug tests, effective sessions on addiction and judicial reviews along with enrollment in a 12-step program.
Finally, some people charged with drug possession in California may be able to get away with a deferred entry of judgment which means that you have to go through drug treatment for six months clean and sober. After an additional year of remaining arrest-free, the case may be dismissed.
Can You Beat Drug Possession Charges in California?
Many people who get arrested for drug possession want to know if they can actually beat the charges levied against them in court. Unfortunately the answer isn’t completely black and white, but there are times when you can beat a drug possession case if you hire a competent attorney who understands California drug laws.
The biggest reason people are able to fight drug charges in the state of California is medical marijuana use. After all, the state does allow people to have a certain amount of marijuana in their possession if they are prescribed cannabis by a doctor. Still, individuals without a license may be able to fight charges if they only had a certain amount on them at the time of the arrest.