Drug Charges

Drug Charges

Possession of narcotics or controlled substances, even for personal use, can have severe consequences. Under California law, criminal cases involving drug possession charges for personal use (or “simple possession”) often resolve by way of diversion pursuant to Penal Code section 1000, sometimes referred to as PC1000. PC1000 requires a defendant to enter a guilty plea and agree to postpone sentencing for 18 months. The agreement also requires that three months of treatment be completed and that the person who is diverted remain law abiding for the entire 18 month period (although, this is not technically probation). If the treatment is not completed and/or the person fails to remain law abiding, the court can find he or she is not amenable to treatment and reinstate criminal proceedings. If criminal proceedings are reinstated, the person is automatically convicted and then sentenced. On the other hand, if the terms of the deal are satisfied the case must be dismissed and the defendant is legally permitted to represent that the case never occurred. Arrest records and court records can also be sealed following a successful PC1000 term.

PC1000 is not available in every simple possession case. Prior criminal history may render a person ineligible for PC1000 and some types of conduct related to drug possession or drug use cannot be diverted, such as driving under the influence of drugs. Penal Code section 1210 (or “Prop 36”) can be an alternative in simple possession cases where PC1000 is unavailable; however, there are specific criteria that apply. Such options are not available in cases involving allegations such as possession for sale, drug sales, or drug transportation and these cases are much more serious. In drug cases involving these types of charges, even in light of the recent changes to California law, the corresponding potential penalties are severe.

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