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What are the penalties for cocaine-related crimes in California?

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2022 | Drug Crimes

The use of illegal drugs is a problem throughout California, and a drug that is extremely addictive and abused by many people is cocaine. 

Cocaine is the third most abused drug in the state, with 7.2% of the population addicted to it. One factor contributing to this high use is the high trafficking of the substance from Mexico. However, there are laws in California regarding cocaine and potential penalties for breaking them. Keep reading to know what these are. 

California’s cocaine-related laws

Proposition 36, voted into law in 2000, reduced some of the penalties associated with cocaine-related crimes. Based on this, special drug courts can give non-violent drug offenders the option to go to treatment rather than supervised probation. Parties with prior records may receive 30 to 90 days in jail rather than felony charges. 

Defenses for cocaine-related crimes

If you are arrested and charged with cocaine possession in California, some possible defenses your attorney may explore include police misconduct, entrapment, the cocaine belonged to someone else and illegal search and seizure – but these defenses are only useful when they actually apply.

Potential cocaine-related penalties

The penalty you receive depends on your crime:

  • Possession: Charged as misdemeanor or felony with up to three years in prison. Prop 36 may apply to your case.
  • Sale: Penalties are based on the amount of cocaine and to whom it is sold.
  • Trafficking: Transport or import results in the potential of three to five years in jail.

Knowing your rights when arrested for cocaine in California

As you can see, the penalties for cocaine-related offenses can be significant. While there are potential defenses and ways to reduce your penalties, it’s important to speak with an attorney about your case as soon as possible.