California treats methamphetamine possession much more seriously than some other drugs. If you are arrested for possessing methamphetamines in Los Angeles, you can face up to a year in jail—even if it is your first charge. Depending on the circumstances and your criminal record, you could also face a felony offense that carries years in prison. Do not take chances with this kind of arrest. You need to fight the charge—and a Los Angeles methamphetamine lawyer can help.
At the Simmrin Law Group, we know how to win methamphetamine cases. We do not believe California’s drug laws are just and we work hard to help anyone who has been arrested for possession, sale, or other drug charges. We take your side and we defend you like a member of our own family, with years of legal experience on our side. Let us give you a free consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What are methamphetamines?
Methamphetamine is a stimulant. It gives you the sense of speeding up your body and mind, and it raises your metabolism. Originally, methamphetamine or “meth” was legal for many uses, including helping truck drivers stay alert—but that was a long time ago. It is now considered to be both dangerous and highly addictive. It has become a controlled substance under federal law, making it illegal to possess it in most cases. Meth is also called speed, crystal, blow, tina, crank, ice and glass.
Drugs containing methamphetamine are still legally prescribed, although it’s rare, for two main conditions:
In its street form, meth can come as a powder, pills or its crystal form, which resembles large crystals of salt. Different forms can be injected, snorted or smoked in a pipe. It is one of the less expensive street drugs available, meaning that many people get arrested for it.
How do California’s meth laws work?
Possessing methamphetamine without a legal reason is usually a misdemeanor under California’s Health & Safety Code Section 11377. A legal reason would mean having a valid prescription, or working as a doctor, pharmacist, or medical company that is licensed to possess or dispense it.
In some cases, methamphetamine possession can become a felony. This is usually when:
You have a prior conviction for a sex crime, or
You have a prior conviction for violent offenses such as murder, DUI manslaughter, or many others
All methamphetamine charges carry potential jail time, although felony convictions carry much longer sentences. The penalties are also worse if you are accused of selling or intending to sell the methamphetamine or manufacturing meth.
What are the penalties for methamphetamine possession in Los Angeles?
It depends on the type of charge:
Misdemeanor methamphetamine charges carry up to 1 year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines
Felony methamphetamine charges carry 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in jail
You may be able to avoid jail time, however, if you qualify for “drug diversion.” You may qualify if:
It is your first or second offense
You were using the meth for personal use only (not selling/sharing it)
In these cases, you may be able to attend drug treatment instead of going to jail. A lawyer can help you make sure you’re eligible and negotiate this outcome.
Is it possible to beat a methamphetamine charge in Los Angeles?
Yes. In fact, these cases are won all the time—even if the drugs were found in your possession. This is because Los Angeles prosecutors have to prove more than just whether or not you had the drugs. In order to convict you, they must prove four separate facts:
You “possessed” methamphetamine (it was either on you, or under your control in your car, home, etc.)
You were aware that you possessed the meth—you knew it was there
You knew what the meth was, or at least that it was a controlled substance, and
The amount you possessed was enough to be used as a drug (not just traces in a baggy or pipe)
As you can see, there are lots of ways for a case like this to fall apart. If the prosecutor can’t prove you knew the meth was there, for example, legally you should not be convicted. Or the meth was “flushed” and all the police recovered were baggies, you should not be convicted. But the prosecutor will fight hard to convict you anyway—you need an experienced lawyer to help you defend yourself.
What defenses can I use against a meth charge in Los Angeles?
All defenses begin with one rule: don’t talk to the police without a lawyer. If someone you love has been arrested, the first thing you should tell them is “don’t say anything.” If the police offer to help you, don’t say anything. If they threaten you with a worse charge, don’t say anything. And if the prosecutor offers you a deal—don’t say anything. The deal will still be there later, even if they said it was now or never.
Once you get legal advice, the right defense depends on the case. But some of the most powerful defenses for methamphetamine possession include:
The meth belonged to someone else
You did not know what the meth was
You were taking the meth to someone with a legal prescription for it
Police violated search and seizure laws
Any one of these defenses may be enough to get your case dropped, to get you a better deal, or to win in court. But simply saying one of these lines will not help. You need to construct a solid case for your defense—and you need to talk to a lawyer.
Talk to a Los Angeles Methamphetamine Lawyer for Free
Meth is one of the most common drugs in the state. You shouldn’t have to spend a year or more behind bars for it. Let us help you. The Simmrin Law Group will give you a FREE consultation—and help you defend yourself. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.