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Drug Possession Charges

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What is Drug Possession?

Drug possession, also known as possession of a controlled substance, under California Health and Safety Code 11350 makes it illegal to possess certain drugs without a valid prescription as well as illegal drugs. Some of the controlled substances under HS 11350 include but are not limited to:

  • cocaine
  • opiates
  • heroin
  • peyote
  • LSD
  • hydrocodone
  • codeine
  • oxycodone

“Possession” of a controlled substance means that the defendant exercised control over the drug, knew of the presence of the drug, knew that it was a controlled substance, and had enough of the drug that it could be used as a controlled substance.


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Elements of Drug Possession


Actual Possession

Actual possession means that you have direct control over the drug. This usually means that the drugs are on your person.

drug possession

Constructive Possession

Constructive possession means that drugs were not found on your person but were found in an area that you are in control of, such as your home or your car.

federal drug charges

Joint Possession

Joint possession is when your and at least one other person share in actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance.

Penalties for Drug Possession

Drug possession is usually a misdemeanor and includes the following penalties:

  • Up to one year in a county jail<
  • Up to $1,000 fine

Drug possession becomes a felony if the defendant has a prior conviction of murder, sexually violent offenses, sex crimes against a child under 14, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or a sex crime that requires to be registered as a sex offender. If charged as a felony the penalties include:

  • 16 months, 2, or 3 years in prison
  • High fines
drug manufacturing

Legal Defenses for Drug Possession

If you were in possession of prescription drugs with a valid prescription for yourself and used those drugs according to the prescription, then you can’t be guilty of drug possession.

Police have to have a valid California search warrant or probable cause in order to search you or your property. If they search you or your property with a valid search warrant, without probable cause, or search outside the boundaries of the search warrant, then it can be used a defense.

This defense works only if you possessed the drug to dispose of them to stop someone from possessing them unlawfully, and if you didn’t possess the drugs to prevent them from being taken away by law enforcement.

In order to be guilty of drug possession, you had to have known that you were in possession of a controlled substance and knew that it was a controlled substance.

Have you been legally accused of committing drug possession? If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is essential to obtain legal council for help. It’s important to take your charges seriously. Don’t just hope for the best. Hire an attorney who understands your situation and the consequences you face.

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Phone: 559-691-6222

Your Defense Attorney for Drug Possession Charges

I’m Mark A. Broughton and I’m here to fight for you. I have been a defense Attorney for 40+ years and have represented thousands of people accused of crimes. I have extensive experience representing citizens charged with Felonies, Federal Crimes, Federal Drug Charges, Drug Manufacturing, Transportation/Distribution of Methamphetamine, and Possession for Sale to name a few.

10.0Mark A. Broughton
Mark A. BroughtonReviewsout of 23 reviews

About Mark Broughton:

Compassionate, highly experienced, exceptional reputation, ethical and honest:

Mark Broughton has been practicing law for over 40 years. He estimates that he has conducted over 200 jury trials – everything from DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, “three-strikes,” dozens of cases involving criminal street gangs, gun/deadly weapons, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, and murders, including special circumstance murder cases.

He has received many outright Not Guilty verdicts for his clients in all of these types of cases, including several murder cases – at one time between 2005-2007, the jury found his clients Not Guilty in four separate cases in a row.

Mark Broughton is qualified as a death penalty lawyer and is on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys in Fresno, California, where he is regularly appointed to special circumstances/death penalty murder cases by the Fresno County Superior Court.

Other Qualifications:
  • Certified Specialist Criminal Law, State Bar of California
  • Board of Trustees, State Bar of California
  • Chairman, Fresno County Bar Association, Criminal Law Section

Mark Broughton enjoys close relationships with his clients.  He sees every individual’s situation with compassion and empathy and believes that every person has the right to a fair trial and is innocent until proven guilty.

Above all, he enjoys helping reunite his clients and their families during and after dealing with perhaps the most difficult time in their lives, going through the challenging criminal process with them.

Practice Areas

  • Federal Crime 40%
  • White Collar Crime 20%
  • Violent Crime 20%
  • Criminal Defense 10%
  • Sex Crimes 10%

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