Facing drug possession charges? You may be aware that California law places substantial penalties on anyone accused of a drug crime. Penalties for possession charges can range, depending on the type and the quantity of the drug, and may be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony based on these.

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The legal definition of “possession” does not necessarily mean that the person has the drugs with them in their pocket or even a purse. You can still be punished if you have control of the drugs in question, even if it is not located in your vicinity.

Our Santa Barbara drug crime attorneys have seen convictions for “constructive possession,” of drugs, meaning the person has knowledge of the location of the drugs and also has control over where it is being taken or how it is being used.

Is Drug Possession a Felony in California?

Drug Possession can become a felony depending if you have prior convictions, a registered sex offender, what kind of rug you were in possession of, where you selling it and if so where.


The government classifies drugs according to “Schedule,” starting from Schedule I to Schedule V and is rated based on its potential for abuse and medicinal value. For example, marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug because it is widely thought to have a high chance of being abused.

There are also different types of possession. Simple possession can be charged as a misdemeanor, whereas possession with the intention of selling or distributing the drug can be charged as a felony.

Penalties one could face include:

  • Misdemeanor: up to 6 months imprisonment and $500 fine
  • Felony: up to 1-3 years imprisonment, and $1000 or more in fines

Fortunately, there may be defenses to your case if it can be proven that the evidence cannot justify the charges against you; for example, you may have been unaware that you were in the vicinity of the drug. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution which must have proof to link you to the drugs.


The Santa Barbara drug crime lawyers at Appel & Morse have 40 years of collective trial experience fighting to protect the rights and reputations of clients. We know that you are going through a difficult time dealing with your criminal charges, but rest assured that we are ready to protect your rights. Through the years, we have gained many successful case outcomes for clients.

Get our aggressive lawyers on your case and call us today to schedule your free criminal consultation!

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