Drug Possession / Cultivation Cases

Under California Health & Safety Code 11350 HS, an individual can be charged with a felony if they have unlawful possession of a controlled substance. This includes a wide variety of drugs such as: marijuana, methamphetamine, crack, cocaine, cocaine base, ecstasy, GHB, heroin and prescription drugs such as codeine or vicodin. Simple possession of a controlled substance is sufficient to be charged under 11350 HS. The person does not have to be using, selling, or under the influence of the drug. However, the District Attorney’s Office must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the individual knew about and controlled the substance. The substance does not actually have to be on you when you are arrested….you can still be convicted if the substance was found in your car or house. A person convicted of “felony possession of a controlled substance” can face a penalty of up to 3 years state prison.

At the Carash Law Firm, we have been defending clients charged with “possession of a controlled substance” for over 40 years. Every individual has a constitutional right to be free from illegal searches and seizures. We have the experience to know how to challenge the DA on how the evidence was obtained.

Drug Cultivation/ Grow House Cases
Drug Cultivation is defined as the growing, production, and possession of plants and other naturally occurring elements with the purpose of being used in the creation of illegal controlled substances such as Cannabis seeds and marijuana plants. A grow house is a property that is primarily used for the production of marijuana. Cultivation of any amount of marijuana is considered a felony in California, and according to section HS 11358 of California’s Health and Safety Codes, “Every person who plants, cultivates, harvests, dries, or processes any marijuana or any part thereof, except as otherwise provided by law, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison.”

Drug offenses such as cultivation or possession of a grow house are vigorously prosecuted in California state criminal courts. More and more of these crimes have begun to appear in recent years, to the point where task forces are being created to specifically handle these types of case. Often times there can be restitution claims by the utility companies into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Often times law enforcement will use “confidential informants” to obtain information about the residence in question while conducting their investigation. It is of key importance to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer conduct an independant investigation into how the evidence against you was obtained in order to provide you with a strong and effective defense. Our attorneys are effective negotiators who understand how to work with prosecutors to reduce the charges or mitigate the sentences received by our clients based on a thorough review of the facts.

Possession Of A Controlled Substance – Sentencing Alternatives
In many cases, drug treatment is considered more appropriate than jail time, especially for non-violent individuals with drug abuse problems. You may be eligible for one of three alternatives:

  • Proposition 36: California’s Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, states: “Substance abuse treatment is a proven public safety and health measure. Nonviolent, drug dependent criminal offenders who receive drug treatment are much less likely to abuse drugs and commit future crimes, and are likelier to live healthier, more stable and more productive lives.” This means that first and second time non-violent “simple drug possession” offenders are eligible to receive substance abuse treatment instead of jail time. It includes one year of outpatient, halfway house, narcotic replacement therapy, education classes and limited inpatient treatment, plus six months of aftercare treatment.
  • Deferred Entry of Judgment (a.k.a. DEJ or Diversion): In this case, the defendant will plead guilty, but is not convicted. The case is put on hold for 18 months while the defendant must take a 6-month drug education class and avoid an arrest or conviction of another crime. The case is dismissed after 18 months and the felony charge is removed from their record.
  • Drug Court: Here, the client is involved in a “supervision-and-treatment” program. The program is usually separated into phases that offer the client more freedoms as they complete each phase. In some cases, jail time may be required. Once the client has completed the program, the case is dismissed. A statewide study shows that drug courts provide substantial savings to the California criminal justice system by reducing prison and jail costs, victimization costs, and recidivism. First established in California in 1993, drug courts use a collaborative approach to justice and provide an alternative to incarceration for substance abusers.