In every state, possessing a variety of narcotics, including methamphetamine, is illegal. You may face severe penalties if you have been caught with methamphetamine in your possession. Hire a criminal defense attorney to help you avoid a conviction to escape these consequences. Simmrin Law Group will help you get started with a free case evaluation.
What Is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a controlled substance that acts as a stimulant. Stimulants cause people’s physical and cognitive processes to speed up significantly. Methamphetamine is frequently used by people who need to stay up for long periods, including truck drivers, students, and even athletes. Yet, there are many consequences for holding and using this dangerous drug.
Some of the impacts of using methamphetamines are that someone risks having seizures, difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion, paranoia, an irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure. This drug also damages the heart, so many users end up in the emergency room after taking methamphetamine for short periods.
In addition to these short-term side effects, mental health issues are a common long-term side-effect of methamphetamine use. Other long-term side effects include serious heart disease, difficulty experiencing pleasure, and the potential for overdose.
Where Does Methamphetamine Come From?
Some forms of methamphetamine are manufactured by legitimate companies and prescribed by doctors to treat certain conditions. But, most of the methamphetamine in California is manufactured illegally in Mexico. Alongside the manufacturers across the border, there are also meth labs local to the state.
There are a number of Californians who manufacture methamphetamine in their homes, in garages, or even in warehouse locations.
California Health and Safety Code §11377
Possession of methamphetamine is considered illegal under §11377 of the California Health and Safety Code. In order to be convicted, prosecutors are required to prove four primary elements of each offense.
You Were in Possession of Methamphetamines
Possession can mean a variety of things. The prosecutor is generally looking to prove that you had methamphetamine on your person or within your belongings. If the drug was found in a coat you were wearing, that can potentially be deemed as you possessing the methamphetamine.
You Knew You Had Methamphetamine in Your Possession
Once it is proven that you did possess methamphetamine, the prosecutor must show the court that you were aware that what you had in your possession was methamphetamine. If someone gave you a bag and did not declare what was in it, it can be argued that you did not know that you were holding methamphetamine.
You Were Aware that You Were in Possession of a Controlled Substance
Even if you did not know that what you had was methamphetamine, a prosecutor can still claim that you were aware that you had a controlled substance in your possession. Having controlled substances without permission is illegal. Therefore someone who accepted a controlled substance, although unaware that it was methamphetamine, would still be accountable for breaking the law.
The Amount of Methamphetamine Discovered Was Enough to Be Used Actively
If the only methamphetamine found on your person is a bit of dust or residue, the prosecutor will not be able to claim that you intended to use or sell it. To be convicted, it must be proven that you possessed a usable amount of methamphetamine. Having less methamphetamine than that is not enough to be convicted.
Note that this does not mean the methamphetamine on your person needs to be enough to get a significant high, it just cannot be a small trace of the substances.
California Health and Safety Code §11378
California Health and Safety Code §11377 only applies to people who have methamphetamine that they themselves will use. §11378 instead applies to people who intend to sell the methamphetamine they possess. If you are charged with possession for sale, the penalties are likely to be much greater than that of someone charged with violating §11377.
Whether you are charged with a 11377 violation or 11378 violation depends on several factors of your case. If the arresting officer or another officer heard you state that your intent was to sell the methamphetamine, you would be charged with possession for sale. Likewise, prosecutors will consider the amount of methamphetamine you had when choosing which code you violated.
If you held an amount of methamphetamine that would not likely be used by a single person and it is stored in multiple packages, it can be assumed that your intent was to sell the controlled substance. A Code 11378 conviction can be reduced to a 11377 violation under certain circumstances. To achieve such an outcome, you usually need to accept a plea deal from the prosecutor.
If you believe that this is your best option, consult with a criminal defense lawyer to get more context for your decision. An attorney can also help you negotiate the best possible plea deal if you do decide you want to plead guilty.
Fighting Methamphetamine Possession Charges
There are several ways to defend against methamphetamine possession charges:
- Prove that you were prescribed the controlled substance
- Prove that the methamphetamine was not yours and instead belonged to another person
- Prove that the officer who discovered the methamphetamine had no probable cause to search you
Build a Strong Legal Defense
Methamphetamine charges can result in frustrating penalties if you get convicted. Someone with prior convictions can face up to three years when found with a small amount of methamphetamine. Possessing more than 1 kilogram of methamphetamine can result in a maximum of 15 years in prison.
To avoid the worst-case scenario, rely on a criminal defense attorney from Simmrin Law Group to help you fight the charges. We can help you prove your innocence or help you minimize penalties. Just use the contact form on this page to get started with a free case evaluation.