Overview of Cocaine Charges

California Penalties for Cocaine Possession

Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), cocaine is a Schedule II substance, which means that cocaine is considered to have a high potential for abuse and abuse of the drug may lead to severe physical and psychological dependence.

Possession of cocaine in the state of California is criminalized under the Health and Safety Code §11000-11033, which is otherwise known as the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, and under California's Health and Safety Code §11351.5. Possession of cocaine can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor offense with the person having to spend up to 3 years in prison.

Possession of cocaine "powder" for sale, under §11351 of the Health and Safety Code, the penalties are 2, 3, or 4 years in prison.

Under California's Health and Safety Code §11351.5, anyone who possesses or purchases cocaine with the intent to sell it shall be punished by incarceration by a period of 3, 4, or 5 years.

There are factors that go into determining a person's sentence and these include any prior criminal history, the amount of the drug and whether or not they were selling within a school zone or to a minor. In California, possession and possession with the intent to sell are handled differently. Also, crack cocaine offenders face longer prison terms.

Need a Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney?

At Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich, our criminal defense team has extensive experience handling drug charges, including those involving cocaine. There are a number of proven defense tactics that may very well mitigate the penalties that you face; therefore, it's highly encouraged that you contact us as soon as possible so we can begin searching for ways to get your charges greatly reduced if not dropped entirely.