Drug Charges

The most commonly prosecuted drug and narcotic crimes in California including possession, possession with intent to sell, delivery, and trafficking. Defense in drug cases involve:

  • a showing that the evidence is not sufficient to support the charges;
  • moving to suppress evidence gained during an illegal search or seizures;
  • entrapment used in undercover sting operations;
  • misconduct by an confidential police informant; and
  • false statements in an affidavit used to secure a search warrant.

The penalties for drug crimes depend on a variety of factors including the type of drug, the way it was used or possessed, the defendant’s prior record, and whether any enhancements apply.


Attorney for Drug Crimes in Ventura, CA

At Jay Leiderman Law, we fight drug and narcotics charges throughout Ventura and the surrounding areas in Southern California, including in Ventura County cities like Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, and Thousand Oaks.

From simple possession to large-scale drug trafficking crimes, Jay Leiderman can help you take an aggressive and proactive approach to fighting the charges.

Jay Leiderman has fought cases involving investigations by the DEA, special undercover police teams and narcotics units in local police departments in and around Ventura County.

Since 2006, Jay Leiderman is board certified in criminal law as recognized by the California Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization. When it comes to the defense of serious drug crimes, experience matters.

Call (805) 654-0200 today for a free consultation.


Overview of Drug Law in California


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Commonly Prosecuted Drug and Narcotic Crimes

The illegal use of drugs, even drugs that might be otherwise legally prescribed, can come with harsh penalties. Many prescription drug crimes involve using fraud or deceit to get a prescription or forging or altering a prescription.

The most commonly prosecuted narcotics crimes in California involve either illegal street drugs or the abuse of prescription medications including:

  • Cocaine;
  • MDMA/Ecstasy
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine
  • Vicodin
  • Xanax
  • Norco
  • Promethazine and Codeine
  • Suboxone

Some of the most commonly prosecuted drug crimes in California include:

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance – 11350 HS
  • Possession for Sale of Narcotics – 11351 HS
  • Sale or Transportation of a Controlled Substance – 11352 HS
  • Possession of Methamphetamine – 11377 HS
  • Manufacturing Drugs & Narcotics – 11379.6 HS
  • Cultivation of Peyote – 11363 HS

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Possession of a Controlled Substance – 11350 HS

Under Health & Safety Code 11350, California law makes it a crime to possess narcotics including prescriptions drugs (Codeine or Vicodin) or street drugs (cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, ketamine, GHB).

In California, the crime of possession of a controlled substance comes with up to three years California state prison. To avoid prison, many people accused of possession of a controlled substance are eligible Proposition 36 or PC 1000 drug diversion.

Beginning in November of 2014, Proposition 47 changed HS 11350 from a felony to a misdemeanor. A person previously convicted of possession of a controlled substance as a felony, might be eligible for re-sentencing under Proposition 47 to a misdemeanor.


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Possession for Sale of Narcotics – 11351 HS

Under Health & Safety Code 11351, California law makes it a felony to possess illegal drugs for the purpose of selling the substance. The crime of possession for sale of narcotics does not qualify for Proposition 36 or PC 1000 drug diversion.

Various factors are used to determine whether the drugs were possessed for the purpose of sales including:

  • quantity of the drugs
  • whether the drugs were packaged in several separate baggies or bindles;
  • the presence of scales to weight the drugs;
  • the presence of weapons and/or large sums of cash.

This type of circumstantial evidence can lead to many innocent people get accused of HS 11351 when the drugs were only possessed for personal use.


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Sale or Transportation of a Controlled Substance – 11352 HS

Under Health & Safety Code 11352, California law makes it a felony to sell, furnish, administer, give away, transport or import an illegal narcotic into the State of California.

Criminal charges for HS 11352 often arise out of undercover sting operations in which undercover officers engage in a setup for a “controlled buy.”

During these undercover sting operations, officers often violate California’s prohibitions against entrapment. In those cases, the entrapment defense can be raised at trial or before trial.


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Possession of Methamphetamine – 11377 HS

Under Health & Safety Code 11377, California law makes it a crime to possess methamphetamine. On the street, methamphetamine is also known as speed, crystal meth or meth.

Under the provisions of Proposition 47, crimes for the possession of methamphetamine can be filed as a misdemeanor.

If you are accused of possession with the intent to sell, sale or delivery, transportation or manufacturing of methamphetamine, the crime is charged as a felony and punishable by time in prison.


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Manufacturing Drugs & Narcotics – 11379.6 HS

Under Health & Safety Code 11379.6 HS, California law makes it a felony to manufacture, process, compound, or produce any controlled substance.

In most cases, the prosecutor must actually show proof that the defendant actually began the process of manufacturing the drugs. In other words, only showing that a person merely gathered supplies or begin preparations to manufacture drugs would not be sufficient.

A conviction for HS 11379.6 comes with penalties of up to seven (7) years in California state prison. The sentence can be more severe if large volumes of drugs are found, minor children are found near the processing location, or anyone is injured or killed in the process of manufacturing the drugs.


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Cultivation of Peyote – 11363 HS

Under Health & Safety Code 11363 HS, California law makes it a crime to plant, process, harvest or cultivate peyote. The drug of peyote is often used in Native American religious ceremonies as an hallucinogenic drug. The crime of cultivation of peyote can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.


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Being Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance – 11550 HS

Under Health & Safety Code 11550 HS, California law makes it a misdemeanor to “use” or “be under the influence of” a controlled substance including street drugs (GHB, ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin or ecstasy) or prescription drugs (Valium or Xanax).

Anyone convicted of HS 11550 faces up to one (1) year in county jail, although many people charged with this crime are eligible for for Proposition 36 or drug diversion under PC 1000.


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Eligibility for Probation in Drug Crime Cases in California

In some types of drug crime cases, the court is prohibited from granting probation to or suspending the imposition of a sentence for any person convicted of certain types of drug offenses, if the person has previously been convicted of one of several specified drug offenses. (Health & Saf. Code, §11370, subd. (a).)

For example, California law prohibits the court from granting probation to or suspending the imposition of the sentence for any person convicted of any of the following offenses:

  • Possession for sale, selling, or offering to sell cocaine base, cocaine, or methamphetamine, and who has one or more prior drug offense convictions, as specified. (Pen. Code, § 1203.07, subd. (a).)
  • Possession of piperidine, pyrrolidine, or morpholine, and cyclohexanone, with intent to manufacture phencyclidine or any of its analogs.
  • Using a minor as an agent or who solicits, induces, encourages, or intimidates a minor with the intent that the minor be in possession of PCP for sale, sells, distributes, or transports PCP, or manufactures PCP or any of its analogs or precursors.
  • Using, soliciting, inducing, encouraging, or intimidating a minor to act as an agent to manufacture, compound, or sell any controlled substance, as specified.
  • Manufacturing or offering to perform an act involving the manufacture of PCP or any of its analogs or precursors.
  • Selling or offering to sell PCP or any of its analogs or precursors.
  • Transporting for sale, importing for sale, or administering, or offering to transport for sale, import for sale, or administer, or by attempting to import for sale or transport for sale, PCP or any of its analogs or precursors.
  • Possession for sale of 14.25 grams or more of any salt or solution of phencyclidine (PCP) or any of its analogs, as specified, or any of the precursors of PCP.
  • Possession of heroin for sale or offering to sell heroin, and who has one or more prior convictions for either offense.
  • Selling or offering to sell 14.25 grams or more of a substance containing heroin.
  • Possession for sale of 14.25 grams or more of a substance containing heroin.

Existing law requires the existence of any fact which makes the defendant ineligible for probation to be alleged in the charging document, and either admitted by the defendant or found to be true by the trier of fact. (Pen. Code, § 1203.07, subd. (b).)

Additionally, California law restricts the court’s ability to put a person on probation, except in an unusual case where the interests of justice would be served, when a defendant is convicted of the following drug crimes:

  • Manufacturing, or offering or arranging to sell, furnish, transport, administer, or give any methamphetamine, or possession of its precursor chemicals, with one or more specified prior convictions involving methamphetamine. (Pen. Code, § 1203.073, subds. (a) & (b).)
  • Using, soliciting, inducing, encouraging, or intimidating a minor to manufacture, compound, or sell heroin, cocaine base, cocaine, or methamphetamine.
  • Manufacture of specified controlled substances, except PCP.
  • Possession for sale, selling, transporting, importing, furnishing, administering, giving away a substance containing 28.5 grams or more of methamphetamine.
  • Possession for sale or sale of a substance containing 28.5 grams or more of cocaine or cocaine base.

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Additional Resources

Criminal Prosecutions of Narcotics in Ventura, CA – Visit the website of the District Attorney’s Office in Ventura County. Learn more about how prosecutors in the Narcotics Unit prosecutes drug including simple possession, possession with intent to sell, delivery of drugs, cultivation or manufacturing, and traffic crimes. From low-level drug dealing to higher-level drug traffic crimes, the narcotics unit is equipped to handles all stages of the case. Drug crimes commonly involve methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. These cases often involve the testimony of undercover officers and confidential informants.


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