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Penalties for Heroin Possession & Dealing in CA
For the longest time, heroin has been a critical public health concern throughout the US. This incredibly potent and addictive drug is known to wreak havoc on individuals, families, and even entire communities.
The dangers inherent in heroin use prompted the legal systems across the country to institute what many consider borderline extreme penalties, even for individuals found guilty of (seemingly) minor heroin-related offenses. While opinions about the severity of consequences are still divided, one thing is for certain:
Being charged with heroin-related crimes is a grave matter. In most instances, addressing it requires the assistance of a proficient San Diego, CA heroin drug crime attorney. Even more than that, it requires understanding the potential implications of being found guilty of these offenses.
What is the penalty for heroin possession in California?
California Health and Safety Code (HSC) distinguishes between two types of heroin possession crimes:
- Simple possession (HSC §11350) refers to the unlawful possession of a controlled substance (i.e. heroin), typically for personal use, but without the intention to sell or distribute.
- Possession with the intent to sell (HSC §11350) implies unlawful possession of a drug and the intent to sell, distribute, furnish, or transfer it to others in any way.
Penalties for simple possession
Under HSC §11350, simple possession of heroin is classified as a felony offense and carries the following penalties:
- Up to 16 months in county jail;
- Fines of up to $20,000.
Recently, it has been found that simple possession rarely necessitates such extreme penalties. In most cases, it is charged as a misdemeanor, typically resulting in summary probation. However, if the perpetrator is a violent offender or has prior felony convictions, charges can be upgraded to felonies, resulting in prison sentences of up to 4 years.
Prop 36 & PC-1000
Under Proposition 36 and CA Penal Code §1000 (PC-1000), non-violent offenders may be eligible for a Drug Diversion Program. This is a court-approved program that obligates participants to:
- Go through drug treatment or education;
- Submit to regular drug testing;
- File proof or appear in court with updates about their progress.
Upon the successful completion of the program, all criminal charges are dropped.
Penalties for possession with the intent to sell
Under HSC §11351, possession of heroin with the intent to sell is always charged as a felony, punishable with:
- Up to 4 years in state prison;
- Fines not to exceed $20,000.
In addition, individuals convicted of this crime are hardly ever entitled to a Drug Division Program.
What is the penalty for dealing heroin in CA?
Selling and transporting heroin (or any other controlled substance such as meth, cocaine, peyote, etc.) is a felony offense, with charges governed by the HSC §11352. The severity of penalties for this crime varies depending on:
- The quantity being sold or transported;
- The distance across which it has been transported.
Based on these factors and not accounting for aggravating circumstances, the penalties for dealing heroin can be:
- Quantity not exceeding 14.25 grams:
- Up to 5 years in state prison, increased to 9 years if drugs were transported across two or more county lines;
- Fines of up to $20,000;
- Quantity exceeding 14.25 grams: Fines can be increased to $50,000;
However, if the quantity of heroin found on one’s person exceeds 1kg, the severity of penalties increases drastically:
- Additional 3-25 years in prison time;
- Fines of up to $8 million.
Which San Diego CA heroin drug crime attorney near me is regarded as most proficient?
If you or someone you know is facing charges related to drug offenses, including heroin, cocaine, or meth possession and distribution, turn to Monder Criminal Lawyer Group. For 25+ years, our team has been providing unwavering legal support to individuals across the San Diego area.
Today, we stand ready to be your sword and shield in an upcoming fight for your future. Contact us right away to schedule a free consultation or a meeting at our HQ near Naval Medical Center, and ensure you have a team dedicated to safeguarding your rights with robust defense strategies tailored to your unique circumstances.