Drug Possession Lawyer

Defense Attorney for Drug Charges in Ventura & Santa Barbara

Our firm defends people in Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and Southern California. We know that receiving accusations for drug possession can not only be detrimental to your reputation, but also to your future as a whole. In California, the state takes drug crimes very seriously, especially any offenses related to possession of controlled substances. There are three different legal entities that are encompassed in the crime of possession including actual, joint and constructive.

Each carries their own penalties that are dependent upon the amount of drugs found, the type of “schedule” the drug falls into and whether or not there were other criminal activities involved with the offense. While there are some drug crimes that are considered misdemeanors, most of them are classified as felonies in the state of California. Being one of the primary states to crack down on incarceration for drug crimes, California is very strict when it comes to prosecuting these offenses. It is important that you have the appropriate legal defense on your side throughout your case.

Looking at the Three Ideas Under Possession Laws

According to the Health & Safety Code 11350, the criminal charge for possession includes not just one kind of possession, but three different subcategories outlining the different types of offenses. Anytime that an individual has possession of an unlawful narcotic under one of these three legal ideas, it is considered to be illegal. These categories include the following:

  • Actual Possession: When an individual has direct contact with a controlled substance, meaning that it is on their person, it is actual possession. The drugs can be kept in a purse, pocket or backpack, sewn into a secret compartment on the piece of clothing or even concealed in a bodily cavity. If drugs were on their person right before the police searched them and it is obvious they just had immediate possession, they could also be accused.
  • Constructive Possession: If drugs were not found on the person of the accused, but they were located in a place where they have control or ownership, they could be charged with constructive possession. This includes cases where the individual has direct control and indirect control through another person. It is not enough for a person to just have access to the drugs or be near the drugs, to accuse them of possession.
  • Joint Possession: This includes drug possession that is shared with at least one other individual. Any time that controlled substances are found in a house, car or other space that could belong to more than one person, there is a chance that all individuals who use the space could be investigated and charged with drug possession. There are various factors that will be looked into such as knowledge of the drugs, quantity of drugs found and other aspects to determine if more than one person was using the substances.

How Are Drugs Classified Under California Law?

The types of consequences you could be facing depend significantly on the kind of controlled substances that were found in your possession. According to state laws, each drug is placed under a “schedule” from 1 to 5, one being the most dangerous substances. They are as follows:

  • Schedule I: These are the drugs that are seen as the most dangerous, with a much higher potential for addiction and absolutely no reason for medical use. This includes substances such as heroin, LSD and marijuana.
  • Schedule II: Drugs with a higher risk of addiction or abuse, but still with some form of medical use will fall under this category. This includes amphetamines, cocaine, opium, methamphetamines and methadone.
  • Schedule III: Typically less dangerous than Schedule II drugs, these substances also have potential for addiction, but on a smaller scale. Depressants, steroids, anabolic steroids, ketamine and testosterone are included in this category.
  • Schedule IV: With some medical muse and a lower risk of addiction or abuse, this can include sedatives, tranquilizers, and clonazepam.
  • Schedule V: Very low addiction and dependency rate and includes drugs like Codeine.

Always speak with an accomplished criminal lawyer before making any steps towards a legal defense. At Ridley Defense, you can rely on the extensive experience that Attorney Ridley has, both as a former Ventura County District Attorney and as an outstanding defense lawyer.

What Are Common Drug Possession Penalties?

Under the California State laws, drug possession of a controlled substance is typically charged as a felony. Conviction could mean either up to 12 months in county jail with a term of probation or it could result in incarceration for 15 months to 3 years in a California State prison. There are some drugs including some depressants that fall under the “wobbler” category, meaning that it is ultimately up to the prosecution to determine if they want to pursue it as a misdemeanor offense. Most often this is determined by looking at the individual’s criminal history as well as the pertinent facts involved in the case. Misdemeanors may result in up to $1,000 in fines as well as a year in county jail.

Do I Have Other Options Besides Serving My Sentence?

Fortunately there are drug diversion programs that are a possibility for individuals charged with non-violent drug possession charges. It offers alternative drug treatment sessions instead of doing time in jail or prison. Once the program is completed, the drug crime accusations will be dismissed, which is an extremely positive aspect of this alternative. There are various stipulations associated with drug diversion and it does not apply to everyone; however, with the help of our qualified lawyer, we can explore these options with you if you have been accused of possession.

Creating a Solid Case Defense

By harnessing the knowledge and capability of a solid criminal defense attorney at our firm, you can allow yourself to rest easier knowing that your case is in the hands of someone who will truly care for your case. It is important that you not only know your rights as you move forward with a legal situation, but it is equally critical that you find the best representation you can. When your future is at stake, as well as significant fines, jail time, potential damage to your reputation and other consequences, we know that you deserve the best attorney in all of Southern California.

Attorney Ridley is highly compassionate and willing to personally work with you throughout every step of the legal process. Having had experience handling thousands of cases throughout Ventura County and the surrounding areas, including successfully obtaining rehabilitation instead of prison time for one of his clients, Mr. Ridley will work with you as more than just your legal advocate. He truly desires to obtain optimal results for you or your loved ones, no matter what! Making himself available 24 hours, 7 days a week, he knows that arrests can happen at any time of the day or night. This is why he strives to be ready to help you in a moment’s notice. 

Fill out our free case evaluation today to allow our legal team to look over the aspects of your charges today or feel free to call us at (805) 208-1866.

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