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California Drug Crimes Involving Possession of Adderall

Many students feel the need to use Adderall without a valid prescription to help them stay focused in their studies. Although it may seem necessary to take Adderall without a valid prescription, either due to academic pressure or simply because it is popular among your peers, this is a misdemeanor in California. This crime carries very serious punishment including but not limited to a lengthy jail or prison sentence and hefty fines. Prosecutors may file additional charges against you depending on the circumstances of events leading to your arrest.

Medical Uses of Adderall

Possession of adderall without a prescription is illegal in California.
Students often use Adderall when studying for an exam.

Adderall is a federally controlled substance that is made of a mixture of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. 1 Adderall acts to stimulate the central nervous system and is commonly prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 2 Adderall works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances, such as adrenaline, in the brain to help increase attention and decrease hyperactivity and impulsiveness. 3 Adderall can also be prescribed to treat narcolepsy, which is a sleep disorder that causes sudden attacks of sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness. 4

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) regulates the manufacturing and possession of controlled substances. The CSA categorizes drugs, substances, and certain chemicals that are used to make drugs into five distinct classifications or schedules depending on a drug’s medical use and potential for abuse. 5 All Adderall products are listed as a Schedule II controlled substance under the CSA. 6

Schedule II controlled substances are drugs that:

  • Have high potential for abuse but less abuse potential than Schedule I drugs; and
  • Potentially lead to severe psychological or physical dependence if abused. 7

Most people who abuse Adderall begin use without a prescription. Due to the frequently reported improvements in focus and concentration, it is common for students to abuse the drug.

Abusing Adderall can result in serious side effects, including:

  • Headaches;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Difficulty sleeping;
  • Mood swings;
  • Disruptive heart rhythm;
  • Increased blood pressure;
  • Loss of appetite; and
  • Excessive weight loss. 8

Drug Crimes Involving Adderall

Some crimes involving Adderall include:

  • Possession of Adderall without a valid prescription (HS 11350)
  • Possession of Adderall for sale (HS 11351)
  • Sale and transportation of Adderall (HS 11352)
  • Possession of Adderall While Armed with a Firearm (HS 11370.1)

Possession of Adderall Without a Valid Prescription (HS 11350)

Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11350, it is illegal to possess Adderall without a valid prescription. The crime is a misdemeanor that carries serious consequences.

Prosecution for Possession of Adderall Without a Valid Prescription

In order to convict you of possession of Adderall without a valid prescription, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • You unlawfully possessed a controlled substance;
  • You knew of its presence;
  • You knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;
  • The controlled substance was Adderall; and
  • The controlled substance was in a usable amount. 9

What Constitutes “Unlawful Possession”?

Possession of Adderall is unlawful when you do not have a valid prescription. It is not necessary for you to actually hold or touch Adderall to possess it. Possession is enough if you have control over Adderall or the right to control it, either personally or through another person. Agreeing to buy Adderall does not by itself constitute that you have control over the substance.

California criminal law generally defines possession in three different ways: actual possession, constructive possession, and joint possession. Possessing Adderall in any of these ways is illegal.

Actual Possession

Actual possession of Adderall means that you have direct and immediate physical control of the substance and Adderall is on your person. For example, you can mean that you have Adderall in your pocket, in your backpack, or in one of your body cavities. You can still be charged if it was obvious you possessed Adderall shortly before a police search, even if Adderall is not on you at the time you are searched by law enforcement.

Constructive Possession

Constructive possession of Adderall means that Adderall was not found on your person but was found in an area that you have control, either directly or through another person. Simply having access to Adderall or being near the drug or someone who has the drug does not constitute constructive possession, you must have control over the area. For example, the police can find non-prescribed Adderall in your desk but you are not home at the time of the search. You would not have actual possession of Adderall but constructive possession of the substance and you may be charged with HS 11350.

Joint Possession

Joint possession of Adderall means that you and at least one other person share either actual or constructive possession. For joint actual possession, this could be where you and your friend are both carrying Adderall on your person. For joint constructive possession, this could be where Adderall is found in a desk in a home that you share with a roommate.

Knowledge of the Presence and Nature of Adderall

You must know of the nature of Adderall and its presence to be convicted of possession. You do not need to know the chemical makeup of Adderall, just your knowledge that it is a controlled substance is enough to meet this requirement.

What is a “Usable Amount”?

A usable amount is an amount that is enough to be used by someone as a controlled substance. The amount does not need to be enough to affect a user. Traces or debris are not considered usable amounts. 10

Punishment for Possession of Adderall Without a Valid Prescription

Possession of Adderall without a valid prescription is punishable as a misdemeanor. If you are convicted, you can face up to 364 days in county jail and a fine not exceeding $1,000.

Defenses for Possession of Adderall Without a Valid Prescription

There are several legal defenses for a charge of possession of Adderall without a valid prescription that a skilled criminal defense attorney can raise on your behalf.

Valid Prescription

In order to convict you for a charge of possession of Adderall without a valid prescription, a prosecutor must prove you did not have a valid prescription or that you used Adderall beyond the scope of your prescription. If you have a valid prescription for Adderall and you were exercising your use of Adderall within the scope of the prescription, your skilled attorney can raise this defense on your behalf.

Lack of Knowledge

In order to convict you for a charge of possession of Adderall without a valid prescription, a prosecutor must prove that you knew you possessed Adderall and that you knew of the nature of the drug. If you had no knowledge of either the presence of Adderall in your possession or of its nature, your skilled defense attorney can use this as a valid defense in your case. .

Possession of Adderall for Sale (HS 11351)

Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11351, it is illegal to possess Adderall for the purpose of sale. This offense is a more serious crime than possession of Adderall without a valid prescription for personal use.

Prosecution for Possession of Adderall for Sale

Possession of Adderall for sale is a very serious offense in California.
Possession of Adderall for sale is a felony offense.

In order to convict you for possession of Adderall for sale, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • You unlawfully possessed a controlled substance;
  • You knew of its presence;
  • You knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;
  • When you possessed the controlled substance, you intended to sell it;
  • The controlled substance was Adderall; and
  • The controlled substance was in a usable amount. 11

Punishment for Possession of Adderall for Sale

Possession of Adderall for sale is punishable as a felony and if you are convicted, you face two, three, or four years in state prison.

Defenses for Possession of Adderall for Sale

There are several legal defenses to a charge of possession of Adderall for sale that a skilled criminal defense attorney can raise on your behalf. In addition to the defenses related to possession of Adderall without a valid prescription, a skilled defense attorney can raise the following defenses:

No Intent to Sell

In order to convict you for the crime of possession of Adderall for sale, a prosecutor must prove that you intended to sell the Adderall in your possession. If you only intended to use Adderall for your personal use, your skilled Adderall defense attorney can raise this defense to possibly have your charges reduced or even dismissed.

Sale & Transportation of Adderall (HS 11352)

Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11352, it is illegal to sell and transport Adderall.

Prosecution for Sale & Transportation of Adderall

In order to convict you for sale and transportation of Adderall, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • You sold or transported a controlled substance;
  • You knew of its presence;
  • You knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;
  • The controlled substance was Adderall; and
  • The controlled substance was in a usable amount. 12

What constitutes “selling”?

Selling in this offense means to exchange Adderall for money, services or anything of value.

What constitutes “transportation”?

Transporting in this offense means to move Adderall from one location to another. It is irrelevant how far Adderall is moved, so long as it is relocated.

Punishment for Sale & Transportation of Adderall

Selling and transporting Adderall is punishable as a felony and if you are convicted, you face up to three, four, or five years in state prison.

Possession of Adderall While Armed with a Firearm (HS 11370.1)

Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.1, it is illegal for you to unlawfully possess Adderall while knowingly armed with a loaded, operable firearm. 13

Prosecution for Possession of Adderall while Armed with a Firearm

In order to convict you for possession of Adderall while armed with a firearm, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • You unlawfully possessed a controlled substance;
  • You knew of its presence;Prosecution for Possession of Adderall while Armed with a Firearm
  • You knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;
  • The controlled substance was Adderall;
  • The controlled substance was in a usable amount;
  • While possessing that controlled substance, you had a loaded, operable firearm available for immediate offensive or defensive use; and
  • You knew that you had the firearm available for immediate offensive or defensive use. 14

What Constitutes a “Firearm”?

Under this offense, a firearm is any device that is made to be used as a weapon where a projectile, such as a bullet, is discharged through a barrel by an explosive or combustion force.

Knowledge that the Firearm is Loaded and Operable is Not Required

You do not have to have knowledge that the firearm was loaded and operable to be convicted of possession of Adderall while armed with a firearm. It is enough that you knew you had the firearm available for use. 15

Punishment for Possession of Adderall while Possessing a Firearm

Possessing Adderall while armed with a firearm is punishable as a felony and if you are convicted, you face up to two, three, or four years in state prison.

Drug Diversion

Under Proposition 36, Penal Code 1000, and California drug courts, drug diversion programs allow some people who have been convicted of non-violent drug possession offenses to serve their punishment in a drug treatment program instead of serving time in prison or jail. If you are convicted of certain Adderall offenses, you may qualify to participate in a drug treatment program instead of spending time in jail or prison. Once you complete a drug diversion program, you may be qualified to have your drug charge dismissed.

Frequently Asked Questions about Drug Crimes Involving Adderall

Our clients often seek our professional legal advice about the specifics of their case. Here are some common questions we receive from our clients who are facing drug crimes involving Adderall.

1.What are some common street names of Adderall?

– Amps
– Beans
– Bennies
– Uppers
– Study Drug

2. Can I be convicted of a crime if I did not know that Adderall was present?

Not if you hire an experienced attorney. In many crimes involving Adderall, the prosecution must prove that you knew Adderall was present at the time the drug was found in your possession. If you had no knowledge Adderall was present, your skilled attorney will be able to raise this defense in your case. Thus, you should not be convicted of this crime if your attorney presents a strong defense in your case.

3. Can I be convicted of possession of Adderall if I did not intend to use or sell it?

Yes, you can still be charged for possession of Adderall even if you did not intend to use or sell it.

4. What is the difference between the crime of possessing Adderall and the crime of possessing Adderall with intent to sell?

Although the two crimes are similar, the crime of possession of Adderall with intent to sell has far more severe consequences than merely unlawfully possessing Adderall. The main difference between the two crimes is that, to be convicted of possessing Adderall for the purpose of sale, the prosecution must prove that you possessed the drug for the purpose of selling it and not merely for using it. This is often proven based upon the amount of the drug you had in your possession. In addition the prosecutor will attempt to show that you had other items with you that would indicate you intended to sell the drugs, such as a scale or other measuring device.

Wallin & Klarich Can Help You Fight Charges Involving Adderall

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime involving Adderall, contact one of our experienced drug crime defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today.

Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients facing drug crime charges involving Adderall. Hiring an attorney from Wallin & Klarich may be your best chance to avoid the serious consequences of a conviction for Adderall crimes.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide you with the very best legal assistance. We are dedicated to giving you the personal attention you deserve during this difficult time. We are here to help you get the best result possible in your case.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.


1. [http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a601234.html]
2. [http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085819.pdf]
3. [Id.]
4. [http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a601234.html]
5. [http://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml]
6. [Id.]
7. [http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/]
8. [http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085819.pdf]
9. [HS 11350]
10. [People v. Leal (1966) 64 Cal.2d 504, 512]
11. [HS 11351]
12. [HS 11352]
13. [HS 11370.1]
14. [Id.]
15. [Id.]

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