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According to the California Public Policy Institute, approximately 511,600 misdemeanor arrests were made in California in 2022.  About one in four (25.4%) of these arrests were for drug offenses.  The penalties for drug-related crimes in Los Angeles depend on a variety of factors, including the type of drugs involved, the quantity found in your possession, whether you intended to sell or distribute it, and your previous criminal record.  A significant change in California drug laws went into effect in November 2014 when California voters approved Proposition 47, a decriminalization initiative. This measure reclassified the possession of certain controlled substances—like methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and concentrated cannabis—from felony offenses to misdemeanors.  Despite the change in drug laws under Prop. 47, tens of thousands of people in Los Angeles County are arrested each year on drug charges.  

In 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, The Adult Use of Marijuana Act.  Proposition 64 legalized specified personal use and cultivation of marijuana for adults 21 years of age or older; reduced criminal penalties for specified marijuana-related offenses for adults and juveniles; and authorized resentencing or dismissal and sealing of prior, eligible marijuana-related convictions. 

Although most charges for personal use or "simple possession" of marijuana and other drugs are now treated as misdemeanors in Los Angeles, these "lesser" offenses can still lead to criminal records and penalties like jail time, fines, and probation. Furthermore, a drug conviction on your record can have a negative impact on your future.  If you're arrested or charged with drug or narcotics possession, CONTACT our office today for a free and confidential consultation with a Los Angeles drugs attorney.

Defenses to Drug Possession Charges

An arrest for illegal drug or marijuana possession does not mean that you will be convicted of the offense.  There are several defenses that a good drug defense attorney may be able to raise that could result in the dismissal of charges, including:

  • You had a valid prescription;
  • The substance is actually not a controlled substance;
  • You were not aware of the presence of the drugs;
  • The drugs belonged to another person;
  • The drugs were never under your control;
  • The search and seizure of the drugs was illegal.

Drug Diversion

If you are charged with misdemeanor possession and have no prior criminal record involving drugs, you may be eligible for diversion.  This effectively puts criminal charges on hold and provides you with an opportunity to get the case dismissed.  A person placed on diversion is typically ordered to attend and complete drug education classes or attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings.  If you successfully do this and do not pick up any new arrests during the diversion period (which can be anywhere between 6 months and 2 years), the case is dismissed.  You may also be eligible to get the arrest sealed from your record.  
Not all drug crimes are eligible for diversion, nor are all persons charged with drug offenses eligible.  If you are charged with possession for sales or distribution, you are not eligible.  If you were already granted drug diversion, or have a lengthy criminal record, you may not be eligible to receive diversion. 

Los Angeles Drug Crimes Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug offense, it is best to speak with a good Los Angeles drug crimes attorney.  Call us today at (877) 667-1205 or fill out our CONTACT form to schedule a free and confidential consultation. 


Our office specializes in representing individuals facing traffic violations. We represent our clients in both court and at DMV hearings. Your case will be handled with the personalized attention and expertise that it deserves.

Free Consultation

There is no charge for the phone consultation. Our office specializes in representing individuals facing traffic violations. Attorney Robert D. Berglund will personally speak with you about your case and provide you with an honest analysis. Contact us today.