Possession of methamphetamine for personal use is governed by Health & Safety Code section 11377(a). Although the code allows a violation of this section to be charged as a misdemeanor, in Kern County, the reality is that it is ALWAYS charged as a felony, even on a first offense. While being charged with section 11377 by itself will normally make the accused eligible for either PC 1000 (Drug Diversion) or Prop. 36 probation, any additional charges in the same case that are not solely drug related can render the accused ineligible for either of those programs. Additionally, the District Attorney’s Office may charge you with either Possession for Sale (H&S 11378) or Transportation (H&S 11379) in an effort to keep you out of these programs, depending on the particular circumstances of your case.
Drug cases, in particular, require the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Oftentimes, there are issues with the legality of the police conduct in detaining or searching the suspect that can result in the dismissal of the entire case.
Health & Safety Code Section 11377
(a) Except as authorized by law and as otherwise provided in subdivision (b) or Section 11375, or in Article 7 (commencing with Section 4211) of Chapter 9 of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code, every person who possesses any controlled substance which is (1) classified in Schedule III, IV, or V, and which is not a narcotic drug, (2) specified in subdivision (d) of Section 11054, except paragraphs (13), (14), (15), and (20) of subdivision (d), (3) specified in paragraph (11) of subdivision (c) of Section 11056, (4) specified in paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (f) of Section 11054, or (5) specified in subdivision (d), (e), or (f) of Section 11055, unless upon the prescription of a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or veterinarian, licensed to practice in this state, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code.