The penalties for drug possession in California depend on what type of drug is being possessed, how much is possessed and the reason why the accused is possessing the drug. However, in 2014 California passed Proposition 47, which significantly changed the sentencing for drug possession. The following is a brief overview of Proposition 47 and how it affected drug possession in California.
How did Proposition 47 affect drug possession?
Under Proposition 47, many drug possession crimes are prosecuted as misdemeanors rather than felonies, meaning a person could only be sentenced to a maximum of 12 months in county jail, rather than having to serve time in state prison. In addition, if a person was already serving time in a state prison for such a crime, that person could petition for resentencing, with some exceptions for those who are registered sex offenders and those convicted of certain violent crimes such as rape or murder.
The type of crimes drugs Proposition 47 applies to includes: Schedule I opiates; Schedule II narcotics and opiates: Schedule III hallucinogens; and Schedule III, IV and V drugs. Possession of marijuana is a separate offense and is not covered by Proposition 47.
Help is available to those with questions about Proposition 47
Proposition 47 had a major effect on drug possession in California. Reduced sentences for drug possession and the potential to change a sentence for those conviction of drug possession changed the way the state addressed drug possession as a crime. This post does not contain legal advice, so those who have questions about the penalties for drug possession will want to seek the advice of a professional.