Defending a Possession of Marijuana in California charge in California
Health and Safety Code 11357 in California makes the possession of personal marijuana illegal. With that being said, it must be proven that you actually violated the law, by admissible evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt. The district attorney (the prosecuting attorney in California), will have to prove that you knew that you were in possession of marijuana, and that you clearly knew what it was. The defense will try to show that a legal defense, missing legal element, or factual defense, exists in the case, and for cases in Orange County, California, that is where the help of the Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyers in the community comes in.
The actual possession of marijuana law, Health and Safety Code 11357 does not allow you to personally possess any concentrated cannabis or marijuana. If you were clueless that the drug was in your possession then you are not guilty under the law. The only way to actually be charged is if they can prove that you fell under the guidelines of persecution as described in the law.
If you have a good attorney advocating for you, and they can show that you did not know what it was, did not physically "possess" it, had a medical marijuana certificate, or you did not have an amount sufficient for personal use then you may be able to clear the charge through a dismissal.
Being in the possession of just one ounce of marijuana in 2011 carried a 100 dollar fine minimum and a maximum of up to $1000 in fines, as stated in Health & Safety Code 11357. Yet if you are over 18 and you possess less on school grounds while occupied you maybe incarcerated for 10 days as well as face a 500 dollar fine. Under the age of 18 it will change to around a 250 dollar fine with a second offense rendering a 500 dollar fine and ten days incarceration in a detention center for juveniles.
A felony violation of this law could cause you to face up to 16 months incarceration in State Prision, or quite possibly up to 3 years in one of California's state correctional facilities. There are additional penalties that are applied depending on the case circumstances.
All of these assume that you do not do the state's popular "PC 1000" diversion program. The outcome will greatly depend on your case and the specific facts that surround it, as well as any criminal activity that you may have had in the past. This offense offers qualified individuals the option of utilizing California's drug diversion program that is offered through drug court. The term drug diversion simply refers to sentencing programs alternatives such as attending a drug rehabilitation center. In some cases upon successful completion of residential rehab drug charges may be all together dismissed.
Orange county criminal attorneys have a number of legal defenses that work in Orange County, and can be extremely helpful in fighting a possession charge. This is true even if you are not qualified to have a medical marijuana defense. Health & Safety Code 11357 can be fought on the grounds that the marijuana was not yours, it was found during an illegal search, it is found during an illegal traffic stop and a number of other alternative defense options are available to fight the charge or charges you may have. Get council as soon as possible, and be honest with your defense attorney so they are prepared to fight for you.