Under California law, there are many crimes that can fall under the drug crime category. The crimes range from simple misdemeanor to full blown felony charges, which are the most severe of the charges. The federal government categorizes drug possession charges by “schedule” and is utilized in order to regulate the potential verdict of the offense.

Schedule I

Schedule I includes drugs that are deemed the most dangerous as well as potential high risk of dependency and addiction. These drugs have no medical value or use and incorporate heroin, mescaline, LSD and marijuana.

Schedule II

Schedule II is high risk of dependency drugs that potentially can be used medicinally. Methadone, cocaine, opium, amphetamines, prescription opiates (Oxycontin and painkillers) and methamphetamines are examples of these drugs.

Schedule III

Schedule III drugs are not as hazardous as the drugs in Schedule II yes still have potential abusive risks involved. These drugs can include testosterone, ketamine (also known as Special K), depressants and anabolic steroids.

Schedule IV

Schedule IV drugs have clearly adequate medicinal use and only some risk of dependency. These drugs can include tranquilizers, sedatives, common prescriptions and clonazepam.

Schedule V

Schedule V drugs are the least addictive with an extremely low risk of habit and include Codeine and Tylenol.

The majority of drug possession charges in California are typically misdemeanor drug crimes. Being in possession of a drug for non-medical use and paraphernalia charges are the most typical. It is legal now to possess under one ounce of marijuana, yet peddling is still not permitted. Some examples of possible drug charges can be drug possession, trafficking, distributing, possession to sell/intent to sell and cultivation. If someone gets a felony drug charge such as the aforementioned, there is a possibility of time in prison and it will be forever engrained on the permanent felony record.

 Penalties for Drug Possession

Although the usual is prison time if charged with a felony drug crime, California does have a few substitutes for imprisonment. Here is a list of possible alternatives:

  • Drug Court- This includes a one year agenda of random drug testing, 12 step programs, counseling and judicial review after admittance.
  • Proposition 36– This includes one year of treatment for drug use. It includes halfway houses, outpatient, inpatient, etc.) and is regulated by the Department of Health.
  • Deferred Entry of Judgment- This includes the defendant pleading guilty and thereafter, 6 months of diversion program treatment. If the defendant can maintain not getting arrested again for an entire year, the case will be fully discharged.


Felony charges regarding possession of marijuana in 2014 downgraded to reflect misdemeanor offenses instead of the previous felony charges. These new statutes changes are not applicable to offenders that are registered as sex offenders. Here is a list of the possible punishments for possession of marijuana (also known as CDS):

  • Possession of any quantity marijuana is disciplined by imprisonment up to 1 year, fine up to $500.
  • Possession of less than 28.5 grams is disciplined by a fine of no more than $100.
  • Possession of more than 28.5 grams is disciplined by imprisonment up to 6 months and a fine no more than $500.
  • An adult in possession of less than 28.5 grams on the property of an elementary, middle or high school in the duration of school hours is deemed guilty of both misdemeanor charges and can be imprisoned up to 10 days as well as a $500 fine.
  • A minor in possession of less than 28.5 grams on the property of an elementary, middle or high school in the duration of school hours is deemed guilty and charged with $250 fine for first offense and up to $500 and put in a juvenile facility upwards of 10 days.

Contact Our Drug Crime Attorneys Today

The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, have the best lawyers to represent and defend the accused on all drug crime convictions.

If you or a loved one has been accused or convicted of a drug crime, contact our drug crime attorneys today to get started on your case.