California treats methamphetamine possession much more seriously than some other drugs. If you get arrested for possessing methamphetamines in Los Angeles, you can face up to a year of jail time, even if it is your first offense.
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 the Los Angeles possession of methamphetamine defense attorneys at Simmrin Law Group can help.
Why Are Methamphetamines Illegal to Own?
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 long ago.
The law now considers it to be both dangerous and highly addictive. As a result, 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 rarely, for two main conditions:
- Extreme obesity
In its street form, meth can come as a powder, pills, or crystal form, which resembles large salt crystals. 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.
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What Are the Laws Surrounding Meth Possession in California?
Possessing methamphetamine without a legal basis is usually a misdemeanor under California’s Health and Safety Code (CHSC) § 11377. A legal basis would mean having a valid prescription or working as a doctor, pharmacist, or medical company 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 crime, or
- You have a prior conviction for violent offenses such as murder, DUI manslaughter, or many others
All methamphetamine charges carry possible jail time, although felony convictions carry much longer sentences. The penalties are also worse if you are accused of selling, intending to sell, or manufacturing meth, according to CHSC § 11378.
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Defining Meth Possession and How It Works
Drug possession can mean many things. Unfortunately, California law doesn’t always make it entirely clear how possession works. There are three different types of possession that can apply to your case.
This is the most straightforward type of possession. Actual possession of meth means that you got caught with the drug on your person, be it in a backpack, in your pocket, or your car. If you get arrested for actual possession of meth, it’s best to remain silent and contact one of our L.A. possession of meth defense lawyers at Simmrin Law Group as soon as possible.
Constructive possession means that meth was found in an area you are associated with. Meth was readily available and accessible to you in these areas. Examples of constructive possession are if someone discovered meth in your gym locker or a dresser.
This type of possession can be challenging for the prosecution to prove, mainly if the meth was found in a common area shared by you and many others. But, ultimately, you can show that you didn’t have clear control and dominion over where the drugs were found.
If meth was found in a shared space between you and another person, the prosecution will automatically assume that it belongs to both parties. However, there still needs to be concrete evidence that shows a connection. If the prosecution lacks this, you can fight against their charges against you.
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What Are the Penalties for Methamphetamine Possession?
Penalties for possession of methamphetamine 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, two years, or three years in prison.
However, you may be able to avoid jail time if you qualify for “drug diversion.” You may be eligible if:
- It is your first or second offense
- You were using the meth for personal use only
In these cases, you may be able to attend drug treatment instead of going to jail. Again, a possession of methamphetamine defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you make sure you’re eligible and negotiate this outcome.
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Additional Consequences of Meth Possession
If you get convicted of meth possession, even if it’s a misdemeanor, you can face severe repercussions on your life. Consequences include:
- Losing your job or having extreme difficulty finding a job
- Getting rejected to higher education or from service in the military
- Difficulty getting financial assistance
- Difficulty finding housing or purchasing a home
The list goes on and on. From these few repercussions alone, you can already see how much of a detriment possession charges can be. Even if you don’t use meth, possessing it is enough to cause significant social stigma.
How Can I Beat a Methamphetamine Possession Charge?
Los Angeles prosecutors have to prove more than just whether or not you had the drugs. To convict you, they must establish 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. In other words, you knew it was there.
- You knew what the meth was, or at least that it was a controlled substance.
- 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 shouldn’t get convicted. Your Los Angeles drug crimes lawyer will attempt to cast doubt on each of these points. Since the burden of proof lies with the prosecution, all your lawyer must show is enough reasonable doubt.
What Defense Can I Use Against Meth Possession Charges?
All defenses begin with one rule: don’t talk to the police without a lawyer. If someone you love got 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.
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. Instead, you need to construct a solid case for your defense. To do that, it’s crucial to have an experienced lawyer handle your case.
Why Should I Hire Your Lawyers to Defend Me?
Our possession of methamphetamine defense lawyers in Los Angeles have been helping clients beat their criminal charges for years. We pride ourselves in our dedication and robust defense of our clients. You shouldn’t let one mistake define the rest of your life. Please allow us to show you how we can assist you in your case.
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 our Los Angeles possession of methamphetamine attorneys 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 to schedule an appointment today. We are available 24/7.