Have you been arrested for the possession of methamphetamine in Los Angeles? Do not hesitate to contact the Rodriguez Law Group for immediate legal assistance. Our Los Angeles defense attorneys have nearly two decades of legal experience handling drug possession charges. We will fight the drug possession charges you face and minimize the consequences of your arrest. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
- 1 Methamphetamine in Los Angeles
- 2 California Methamphetamine Possession Laws
- 3 What Happens When You Are Arrested For Methamphetamine Possession in California?
- 4 California Drug Diversion Program
- 5 Other California Methamphetamine Laws
- 6 Defenses to Methamphetamine Possession Charges
- 7 Call Los Angeles Methamphetamine Attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez Today
Methamphetamine in Los Angeles
Over the past decade, methamphetamine has become an increasingly popular drug in California and Los Angeles. Methamphetamine is actually a broad term that is used to describe any drug that is made up of methamphetamine, methylamphetamine, or desoxyephedrine. Street names for term methamphetamine include meth, crystal meth, crank, speed, jibb, shards, tina, fire, and glass. The drug is generally found in powder or crystal form and can be smoked, crushed, snorted, or dissolved in a liquid. Methamphetamine is classified as a stimulant and has effects similar to crack and cocaine.
California Methamphetamine Possession Laws
In California, it is a crime under Health and Safety Code Section 11379 to have any amount of methamphetamine in your possession. In order to convict you for possession of methamphetamine, the prosecutor trying your case must be able to prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Elements that must be proven in a methamphetamine possession case include:
- You unlawfully possessed methamphetamine;
- You knew that you possessed methamphetamine; and
- The possessed a usable amount of the drug.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Possession can be actual or constructive. You have actual possession of something when it is physically on your body. This includes meth that is in your pockets, waistband, wallet, or purse. You have constructive possession of something when you have the authority and power to control property. For example, you would be considered to have constructive possession of methamphetamine that is found in your car or home. This is because you have the power to assert control over these pieces of property.
Knowledge of the Drug
You must have knowledge that you possessed the methamphetamine. If you did not know that you had the drug in your possession, or did not know that the substance you possessed was a controlled substance you cannot be convicted for possession. In some cases, a friend or acquaintance may leave the drug in your car or home. If police find this drug you can assert the defense that you lacked the required knowledge to be convicted.
Usable Amount of Methamphetamine
What is a usable amount of a drug? According to California law, you will be considered to have a usable amount of a controlled substance if the “quantity…is enough to be used by someone as a controlled substance…to affect the user.” This basically means that you cannot be convicted if you simply had trace amounts or methamphetamine debris. You must have enough of the drug to generate an altered state of mind.
What Happens When You Are Arrested For Methamphetamine Possession in California?
Possession of methamphetamine in Los Angeles used to be classified as a wobbler. This meant that the crime could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific circumstances of each case. However, in 2014 California voters decided that the consequences for drug arrests in the state were too severe and passed Proposition 47. Under Proposition 47, possession of methamphetamine is classified as a misdemeanor offense. This significantly reduces the possible criminal penalties that can be imposed if you are convicted for possession of meth.
Misdemeanor possession charges in California are punishable by:
- One year in a Los Angeles County jail;
- $1,000 in fines;
- Mandatory drug counseling;
- Summary probation; and/or
- Community service.
California Drug Diversion Program
In addition to reclassifying methamphetamine possession as a misdemeanor, Proposition 47 also established drug diversion alternatives for first-time offenders. California’s drug diversion programs offer first-time drug offenders the opportunity to undergo treatment, rather than subjecting them to harsh criminal penalties. The diversion programs are intended to mitigate the growing methamphetamine and drug epidemic in California.
How does the California drug diversion program work? The program, which is formally known as “Deferred Entry of Judgment” is available for individuals who are arrested on nonviolent drug possession charges for the first time. It is important to know that possession of a large quantity of methamphetamine may be considered possession with the intent to sell. If this is the case, you will not qualify for the drug diversion program and will face traditional criminal consequences.
At your court hearing, you will enter a plea of guilty to the possession charges against you. The judge, after determining that you are a good candidate and eligible for the program, will suspend the judgment in your case. You will then be required to undergo and complete court-supervised drug counseling and treatment. A judge can suspend the judgment in your case for anywhere between 18 months and 3 years. Once you have completed the drug treatment program and satisfied the court, the judge will dismiss the charges against you. This means that your criminal record will not reflect a conviction or guilty plea for possession of methamphetamine.
Other California Methamphetamine Laws
California law also prohibits the manufacture, distribution, trafficking, and sale of methamphetamine. These criminal charges were not affected by Proposition 47 and are felonies in Los Angeles. Additionally, methamphetamine possession charges can be aggravated to a felony if you are in possession of a large quantity of the drug. The crime of possession with the intent to sell is also not affected by Proposition 47 and will generate felony charges. If you are convicted of selling, trafficking, distributing, or manufacturing methamphetamine you could face up to seven years in a California state prison. If aggravating factors are present, such as manufacturing the drug within 200 feet of a home, you could face more than a decade in prison.
Defenses to Methamphetamine Possession Charges
When you face drug possession charges in Los Angeles you have the right to assert a defense. The arguments you use should help to explain, excuse, and/or justify your alleged behavior. When these defenses are persuasive the prosecution will have a difficult time proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Defenses that may be helpful in your Los Angeles methamphetamine possession case include:
- You did not know you had possession of methamphetamine;
- You did not know that the substance in your possession was methamphetamine;
- You have been mistakenly identified or falsely accused; and/or
- You have been the victim of an unlawful search or arrest.
When the police violate your rights by executing an unwarranted search or arresting you without cause they should not be able to use any illegally-obtained evidence against you. When you hire The Rodriguez Law Group to handle your case, we will immediately file a petition to suppress any evidence that was tainted by the unlawful behavior. When the prosecution loses this evidence they will be more likely to negotiate reduced charges or dismiss the charges in full.
Call Los Angeles Methamphetamine Attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez Today
If you are facing criminal charges for methamphetamine possession in Los Angeles, do not hesitate to call criminal defense attorney Ambrosio E. Rodriguez for help. Mr. Rodriguez is a former prosecutor with nearly two decades of legal experience. He understands that these possession charges threaten your future and will fight to secure a reduction or dismissal of the charges in your case. With more than 13 years of experience prosecuting drug crimes, he knows how to minimize the consequences of your arrest.