Instances in which a person is found in possession of Methamphetamine (crystal meth, speed, crank, meth, ect.) in California will usually result in a criminal charge for violating health and safety code 11377 HS. HS 11377 makes it a criminal offense to possess meth and can be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony offense depending upon case circumstances.
Being in possession of crystal meth in California can result in either a misdemeanor or a felony are referred to as wobbler offenses. The district attorney that is assigned to each individual’s case will decide whether they will pursue misdemeanor or felony charges based on the amount of crystal meth that was found as well as the defendant’s criminal history.
What Do Prosecutors Need for a 11377 HS Conviction?
The amount of evidence needed to secure a conviction will differ based upon the presiding judge, prosecuting attorneys, as well as any involved jury members. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending upon the details of your case) whether or not a person will be convicted of HS 11377 is heavily influenced by the personalities involved and the specific circumstances of each individual’s arrest.
Despite the multitude of variables that can affect whether or not a person is found guilty of violating 11377 HS, in order to be convicted, the state of California requires that specific facts must be established in order for anyone to be found guilty, all of which are provided below.
Were you in possession of methamphetamine? This sounds like a pretty straight-forward question, but there are actually three types of “possession” under California State Law.
- Actual. Was the meth found in your pocket or anywhere else on your body? This would be an example of actual possession.
- Joint. Was the meth found in an apartment that you share with other people? Under some circumstances, this could be an example of joint possession of meth.
- Constructive. Was meth found at your home or in your car while you were not there? This could be an example of constructive meth possession.
Did you know that you were in possession of crystal meth?
- Example: you slept over at a friend’s house last night. When you woke up, you realized that you were late for work. You grab your stuff, but you accidentally grab someone else’s jacket and race off to work. On your way you are pulled over by police who search you and find a bag of meth in your jacket pocket. If you were unaware that the meth was in the jacket, you are not guilty of violating health and safety code 11377.
Did you know that what you had was a controlled substance?
- Example: you are with a person that you met recently and are now going to a concert. Before the concert, they ask you to hold their small baggie of artificial sugar because they don’t have pockets and can never find the sugar that they like. While entering the concert, security finds the baggie which is later determined to be crystal methamphetamine. If you were unaware that it was meth or any other drug, you are not guilty of violating HS 11377.
Did you have enough meth to be used as a drug?
- Did you only have a tiny bit of meth when you were arrested? If it was only a little bit of residue and not enough for someone to snort or smoke, you are not in violation of 11377 HS.
Can I Take Drug Diversion Classes?
In most cases, yes. Those charged with violating health and safety code 11377 HS can usually qualify for some form of drug diversion program. These programs are alternative sentencing options for defendants to help them rehabilitate in treatment rather than be incarcerated in jail or prison for their offense.
The following are types of drug diversion programs available in the state of California:
- California Penal Code 1000
- California Proposition 36
- California Drug Court
What Are the Benefits of Drug Diversion Classes?
The main benefit of taking advantage of drug diversion programs is that, if completed properly, defendants usually have their case dismissed. So, normal setbacks experienced by those who are convicted of criminal offenses in California are regularly avoided by taking advantage of drug diversion programs.
What Penalties Can I Face?
HS 11377 violations can result in either a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon your criminal history and the specific circumstances of your case. The following are the maximum allowable penalties for those who are convicted.
- One year in jail
- $1,000 fine
- Three years in prison
- $10,000 fine
What Legal Defenses Are Regularly Used by Defendants?
Having assisted drug crime defendants in Southern California for several years, I will usually secure a drug diversion program on their behalf, but some people are not willing to follow the rules. If you know that you will not be able to adhere to the rules imposed by drug diversion programs (drug testing, regular visits, ect), do not have the money, or are innocent of your crimes, it may be in your best interest to fight your charges.
Legal defenses for HS 11377 violations will vary widely as a legal defense should always be based upon each drug crime defendant’s specific case circumstance. Regardless, the following are legal defenses used by those facing charges for violating 11377 HS.
- Hard to prove, but is a defense option for some defendants. Basically, if you or your attorney can convince a jury of your peers that you would not be guilty of the crime had a police officer not been involved, you may have an opportunity to use entrapment as a possible legal defense.
Wrong place at the wrong time.
- Were you unaware that you had meth on you? Were you aware that you had a substance on you, but not that it was meth? Is this your first time getting in trouble? If you can convince a jury that this was all one big mistake and that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, you may be able to have your case dismissed.
If you or your loved one are facing drug crime charges in Southern California I invite you to contact my law firm for a free case evaluation. MacGregor & Collins, LLP has assisted more than 10,000 clients over the last several decades and can help you better understand your options moving forward. Call 888-250-2865 or click on the link below to receive assistance today.