What is the Average Sentence for Drug Possession?

A Stash of Marijuana

State Law Only Permits Legal Adults to Possess Up to an Ounce of Marijuana for Recreation.

How much jail time can you get for drugs?” That’s one of the most common questions people ask when they have need for a bail bonds agent. Drug charges are serious business, but there’s also a lot more ambiguity on the subject than people realize.

That’s why we’ll break down the subject today. Our discussion will focus on helpful terminology and determining what you can expect if a loved one is charged with possession. Afterwards, you’ll be equipped with the information you’ll need to take the situation head on! Let’s get started.

Drug Charge Classification

First off, there are many different types of crimes related to drugs (both legal and illegal substances). Understanding the meaning and severity of each charge will help you respond in a crisis.

Drug Charges List

  • Possession
  • Paraphernalia
  • Dealing
  • Manufacturing
  • Trafficking

Drug charges are also weighted by the substance involved. More tightly controlled substances, such as heroin and opiates, garner stronger punishments in practically every type of drug charge classification. If you’d like a more detailed description of drug scheduling, check out this article, or consult the California Health and Safety Code.

Possession Definition

What is Considered Drug Possession?

There are many circumstances that can lead to a drug possession charge. Quantity, substance, and persons involved all have to be considered. Having small amounts of a controlled substance on your person or property will likely result in a possession charge. If you have a large amount of a controlled substance

Please note that while Proposition 64 legalizes the possession of marijuana (up to 28.5 grams unconcentrated, 8 grams concentrated), there are many regulations surrounding its use and distribution. One must be 21 years of age and older to legally possess the substance. The amount must not exceed the allowed measurements in grams. The substance cannot be distributed to minors. Violating these and other facets could result in a possession charge, or worse.


What Amount of Drugs is a Felony?

Tier 1 and Tier 2 controlled substances may automatically result in a felony, no matter the amount. Possession with intent to sell is even more likely to end in a felony charge. If you wish to get more specifics, consult your California Health and Safety Codes.

Minimum Sentencing

What is the Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Drugs?

In most circumstances, there isn’t a mandatory minimum sentence related to drug charges. Many people are familiar with “Three Strikes Law” that mandates a 25 year minimum jail term for a person convicted of a third felony. For drug crimes however, the third felony must be of a very serious nature, such as selling a heavily controlled substance to a minor.

Judges may invoke minimum sentencing in certain misdemeanor drug crimes. Talk with your trusted attorney for more information.

Drug Charges Penalties

Most drug charges fall under the possession classification, which carries lesser penalties. Misdemeanors will generally result in county jail times of no more than a year. However, trafficking and dealing cases will result in steeper penalties.

Potential Penalties for Drug Offenses

  • Fines
  • Community Service
  • Probation
  • House Arrest
  • County or State Prison Time
  • Federal Prison Time

What is the penalty for selling drugs? On a federal level (which features stricter penalties), a small time convicted dealer could face up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. Only the most prolific dealers will go much higher than that.

Federal Drug Charges vs State

A Crystal Form of Marijuana

Federal Laws Often Have Harsher Penalties for Drug Possession, Including Longer Prison Sentences.

Federal and state guidelines often differ on the legality of controlled substances. For instance, recreational marijuana use is legal under California’s Proposition 64, but federal law still outlaws consumption. If a person is found using marijuana or another controlled substance on federal property, they could be tried at a federal court, which often imposes higher fees and longer prison sentences.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is responsible for enforcing anti-drug laws and investigating potential infractions. If a California citizens drug-related activities crosses state lines, or if they interact with suspect organizations that do, there is a high potential that drug-related crimes will be prosecuted at a federal level.

Ask About Drug Charges Bail!

Having a loved one arrested on drug charges is a very stressful situation. Without detailed knowledge on municipal, county, and state laws, it can be very difficult to fully comprehend what’s going on. After you’ve contacted your trusted lawyer, you may also need the services of a local bail bonds service.

At Cut Loose Bail Bonds, our team has supported countless families and individuals facing the stressful circumstances involved with drug charges. Our bail bond professionals can ensure that your loved one sees as little pre-trial jail time as possible. That means that your loved one will have additional time to continue earning income, spending time with family, and consulting with their defense attorney.

Would you like to learn more about drug charge bail? Give our friendly team a call at 916-663-2245!