When a California resident is accused of drug possession, the authorities and prosecution must prove that the accused person was knowingly in possession of illegal substances. In order to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, there are certain legal requirements that must be met.
In addition to proving that the accused had a controlled substance, the prosecutors must be able to prove that the person knew those particular drugs were illegal. In cases when the drugs were not found on the person, the prosecutors may have to prove that the defendant had access to the drug. For example, the person may still potentially face charges if the drugs were found in the person's vehicle or home as long as the prosecutors can prove that the accused was in control of them.
A person can face two different possession charges -- simple possession and possession with intent to distribute. For simple possession, prosecutors only need to prove that the person was possessing the drug in order to personally use it. For possession with intent to distribute, the prosecutors must provide evidence that the person was selling it. Evidence of distribution may include baggies, large quantities of drugs and large amounts of cash.
If a person is accused of drug possession, they may potentially face serious consequences that can include a long jail sentence, heavy fines and a criminal record. However, if the prosecution cannot prove that the person knowingly possessed illegal substances, the case could be dropped or dismissed. A criminal law attorney may provide a strong defense against such charges. For example, the lawyer could argue that the drugs did not belong to the accused person or that the person did not know that those substances were controlled or illegal.