The state of California takes drug crimes very seriously. In an effort to crack down on unlawful drug use and distribution, state laws are strict when it comes to the consequences an offender could face.

The penalties for different drug crimes can vary significantly depending on the nature and extent of the offense.

Juvenile drug crimes

The juvenile courts in San Jose will look at the minor’s prior criminal history, attitude, age and nature of the offense to determine how best to handle drug charges. For the most part, the juvenile system aims to educate and rehabilitate young offenders rather than to be solely punitive. Penalties for possession of drugs or paraphernalia could include time in a juvenile detention hall, community service hours, fines and mandatory drug education courses.

Misdemeanor drug possession crimes

Drug crime penalties depend largely on the type of drug and the quantity found in the defendant’s possession. Proposition 47 made three important changes to criminal sentences in California. It lightens many drug possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors, and it also allows those who already have felony convictions to request resentencing based on the new provision. Those who have already completed their sentences may be able to have their convictions reclassified as misdemeanors on their criminal record.

A few examples of misdemeanor drug crimes in California include possessing Schedule I drugs, Schedule II narcotics or opiates, or Schedule III hallucinogens. The maximum penalty for these crimes is up to one year in county jail and/or $70 in fines.

Felony drug crimes

Facing charges for a felony drug crime in California is more serious. It could refer to possessing a large number of drugs with intent to sell, drug trafficking, drug manufacturing or possessing serious types of drugs. The penalties for a felony drug crime could include jail or prison time, probation, thousands of dollars in fines and community service.