California Possession of Methamphetamine FAQs – California Health and Safety Code 11377

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Can I still be charged with possession of methamphetamine if I did not know that this substance was in my possession?

Maybe. In order to convict you of possession of methamphetamine under California Health and Safety Code 11377, the prosecution must prove that you knew that the character or nature of the substance you possessed was a controlled substance. This does not mean that the prosecution must prove that you knew the substance was actually methamphetamine. In fact, the prosecution is not required to prove that you knew which specific controlled substance you possessed, but only that you knew of its nature and character. However, if you did not know of the presence of any such substance in your possession, you cannot be convicted of possession f methamphetamine.

How will the prosecution try to prove that I had methamphetamine in my possession?

To prove that the substance in question is methamphetamine, the prosecution can have independent lab tests performed and present the results in trial. The prosecution can also have an expert witness testify that the substance in question is methamphetamine.

To prove that the methamphetamine was in your actual or constructive possession, the prosecution only needs to prove that you had physical custody or control over the methamphetamine, whether it was intentional or not. The prosecution can show this by proving that the methamphetamine was in your vehicle, home, or any other location in which you have control.

What is considered a usable amount of methamphetamine?

A usable amount is defined as any quantity that is enough to be used by someone as a controlled substance. Useless traces or debris are not considered “usable amounts” because they are not likely to be used in the manner prohibited by the California Health and Safety Code. However, a usable amount does not need to be enough, in either amount or strength, to affect your disposition upon its use.

Is it possible to argue that I only had “momentary possession” of methamphetamine?

Yes. Having only momentary possession is a defense to the charge of possession of methamphetamine. You must prove that the possession of methamphetamine was only for a momentary period, you possessed the methamphetamine for the purposes of disposing it, and you were not trying to prevent law enforcement from obtaining the methamphetamine.

You must prove each of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence. This means you have to prove that each of the three listed items were more likely than not to be true.

Are there any alternative punishments available if I am convicted of possession of methamphetamine?

Yes. Alternative punishments outside of incarceration are available if you are convicted of possession of methamphetamine.

Under California Health and Safety Code 11350, the court has the power to place you on probation. If you are placed on probation, the court may impose from one day to one year in the county jail as a condition of probation.

You may also have a probation officer, in whom you will have to meet on a regular basis. If you are placed on felony probation for this offense, this means you likely will have a probation officer. Random drug tests may also be administered.

Diversion programs may also be available. If you are charged with simple drug possession, California Penal Code 1000 (“P.C. 1000”) and Proposition 36 (“Prop. 36”) are two diversion programs that will allow you to enter into a drug treatment program in lieu of jail time. Upon completion of the drug treatment program, your charges will be dismissed.

For more information on P.C. 1000 and Prop. 36, read our Diversion Programs section. You will find invaluable information on these diversion programs, including how to be eligible, and the pros and cons to these diversion programs.

If I have been charged with possession of methamphetamine, who should I call?

With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, and Victorville, Wallin & Klarich has over 40 years of experience in successfully representing Southern California residents who have been charged with possession of methamphetamine. Drawing from extensive years of experience, we are available to answer any questions you have and are willing to go the extra mile in your defense.

If you are facing prosecution for possession of methamphetamine, call our talented and professional defense attorneys today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL (877-466-5245). We will be there when you call.

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