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Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
John D. Kirby in San Diego, CA
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In California, there are two broad drug crime categories: simple possession and possession with the intent to sell. Both possession and possession with intent to sell of illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and prescription drugs not obtained with a proper prescription are against the law. The norms around sentencing for drug crimes in California are constantly evolving, so it is best to hire an experienced San Diego drug crime attorney if you have been convicted of a drug crime. 

John Kirby Law is a team of experienced defense attorneys specializing in areas like drug crime and white collar crime. If you or a loved one has been accused of a drug crime in California, we will work with you to reduce sentencing as much as possible. Here is an overview of sentencing for drug crimes in California. 


  • Possession of a Controlled Substance, Not Marijuana


A controlled substance is a regulated drug that has been placed on a schedule of controlled substances by the State of California. In 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, which changed the sentencing structure for drug possession. Under this new law, drug possession offenses became punishable as a misdemeanor only and allowed those serving time in a state prison for drug possession charges to petition the court for resentencing. 

In the broad category of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Not Marijuana, drugs under Schedules I through V are punishable as misdemeanors only. This includes opiates, cocaine, mescaline, morphine, pentobarbital, anabolic steroids, and prescription drugs that were not prescribed to the user. If you are caught possessing one of these substances, penalties include up to one year in county jail, not state prison.  


  • Possession of Marijuana


In 2016, California voters decriminalized marijuana under Proposition 64. It is now legal for adults 21 and over to purchase, possess, and consume up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and eight grams of concentrated marijuana. However, possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana is still punishable by incarceration of up to six months, a fine of not more than $500, or both. Possession of over eight grams of concentrated cannabis is punishable by incarceration of up to one year, a fine of $500, or both. 


  • Possession with Intent to Sell


California Health and Safety Code 11351 HS makes it a felony to possess certain substances with intent to sell them. These substances include drugs like cocaine, heroin, LSD, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine. If you are convicted of violating the California Health and Safety Code 11351 HS, you face two to four years in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $20,000 fine. However, an experienced drug lawyer can possibly get you probation and up a year in county jail. 


  • San Diego, CA Drug Lawyer


Attorney John D. Kirby has over a decade of experience as a private criminal defense lawyer. His team takes pride in working hand in hand with their clients in order to minimize sentencing as much as possible. 

To learn more about California’s drug sentencing laws, contact us at (619) 349-1728.