In California, possession of a controlled substance, at one point, was a “wobbler” which means that the prosecutor had the discretion to charge it as either a felony or misdemeanor. Charing as a felony generally depended on the drug and other facts and circumstances surrounding the defendant’s arrest and prior criminal history. Since Proposition 47 passed, possession of a controlled substance is generally charged as a misdemeanor. Although a misdemeanor is not as serious as a felony, a conviction of a misdemeanor drug offense carries serious, long-lasting collateral consequences.

One of the most important aspects in defending a possession of a controlled substance charge is the actions the law enforcement officer who first came in contact with the defendant. It the job of a criminal defense attorney to review all discovery, look for mistakes, inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and even misconduct on the part of the law enforcement officers involved. It is not uncommon for the police to violate the law in regards to search and seizure.

Although there are police officers who follow the law, there are some who do not. A few of the more common violations that law enforcement officers make may include: entrapment, writing inaccurate police reports, misleading judges to obtain search warrants, and arresting people without probable cause. When criminal defense attorneys are able to identify police misconduct, it creates a huge problem for the prosecution and might lead to the suppression of evidence in the case. This could lead to a dismissal of the charges.

If you have been arrested for possession of a controlled substance, you should contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are both protected and asserted.