What you Should Know About Californias Possession Laws

California is one of the most populous states in the United States of America. With a population of over 39 million, it’s no wonder that there are strict laws on the possession of certain items in California. Possession laws in California are enforced to protect the public from harm and to maintain a safe environment for everyone. In this article, we will discuss the possession laws in California and what you need to know to stay on the right side of the law.

Possession of Marijuana

Possession of marijuana is illegal under federal law, but some states have legalized it for recreational use. In California, recreational marijuana use has been legal since 2016, but it is still regulated. Adults who are 21 years and older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use. However, possessing more than one ounce is a misdemeanor offense, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Possession of Illegal Drugs

Possession of illegal drugs is a criminal offense in California. The state has classified illegal drugs into different schedules, depending on their potential for abuse and the medical use of the drugs. Schedule I drugs, such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, have a high potential for abuse and no medical use. Possession of Schedule I drugs is a felony offense, punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Schedule II drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl, have a high potential for abuse, but they also have some medical use. Possession of Schedule II drugs is a felony offense, punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Schedule III drugs, such as anabolic steroids and ketamine, have a moderate potential for abuse and have some medical use. Possession of Schedule III drugs is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Possession of Prescription Drugs

Possession of prescription drugs is only legal if you have a valid prescription from a licensed doctor. Possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Possession of Firearms

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Possession of firearms is only legal if you have a valid license or permit. Possession of firearms without a valid license or permit is a felony offense, punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

What To Do When Pulled Over For A DUI

Did you know that drunk drivers murder 29 people in the United States every day? That is one human life taken in vain every 51 minutes. According to the CDC, drunk driving caused around 10,000 deaths in 2015, accounting for one-third of all traffic-related deaths.

It’s unsurprising that law enforcement is so strict with intoxicated drivers. What happens when someone is arrested for the first time for a DUI? The penalty for being pulled over for a DUI increase year after year and become increasingly severe.

What Happens If You Are Arrested For A DUI and Convicted?

Jail time: The amount of jail time a person receives is highly dependent on their current state of mind and the extent of the damage they committed. While the majority of first-time DUIs are classed as misdemeanors, if they result in property damage, the incident may be classified as a felony. Certain individuals may get off lightly and merely have to perform community service. Numerous locations will hold you in jail until a judge is available. If you are arrested for DUI on a Friday night, you may have to wait until Monday to see a judge and have any hope of being released from jail. How about a long weekend? It’s possible that you’ll have to wait until Tuesday.

Costs: A first fine may range between $500 and $2,000, but that is only the beginning. Additionally, there will be additional expenditures such as court costs, increased car insurance rates, attorney fees, towing and impoundment fees, and license reinstatement fees. Those convicted of a DUI can expect to pay between $13,000 and $27,000 in total, and possibly more, depending on the cost of their attorney.

Suspension of license: Drunk drivers may have their license suspended, although this is very dependent on their location. For instance, residents of California will have their license suspended for six months following their first DUI conviction. They often have the option of asking for a limited license, which would allow them to drive to job, school, and any court-ordered programs, but the court will determine which privileges they receive.

Many people who are arrested for DUI are expected to attend particular drug and alcohol lessons in addition to traffic school or other training programs. This adds time and money to the process.

Even if you regain your license, being pulled over for a DUI almost always requires you to have a breathalyzer installed in your vehicle. Typically, you must pay for this breathalyzer and it must be calibrated on a regular basis, which also costs money.

The simplest strategy to avoid being pulled over for a DUI is to simply refrain from drinking and driving. The $30 or so for a Lyft or Uber ride is peanuts in comparison to the expenditures of obtaining a DUI. However, what should someone do if stopped for a DUI?

What To Do If You Are Arrested For DUI

1. Be courteous. Drivers should slow down and be as courteous as possible to the police. Police officers will be more forgiving with folks who are kind to them than with those who are aggressive. When requested, drivers should surrender their license, registration, and insurance and exit their vehicle.

2. Be aware of their rights. In these cases, drivers always have Miranda rights, and there are moments when remaining silent is advantageous. Typically, police will ask self-incriminating questions such as “How much alcohol have you consumed tonight?” Drivers are not compelled to respond to these questions and may politely decline. It is preferable to decline than to state, “It was only one or two drinks.” When you are pulled over for a DUI, you must complete some activities, such as a sobriety test, but you are not obligated to self-incriminate by giving comments to the police.

3. Submit to compulsory field sobriety tests. You will almost certainly be required to perform field sobriety tests such as standing on one leg, walking in a straight line, or moving their eyes in a particular manner. These are highly subjective tests. They do not check the subject’s blood alcohol content, but rather seek for bodily indicators of inebriation. Drivers can always argue that such tests are unnecessary and refuse to participate, but in many places, refusing a sobriety test results in an instant suspension of your driver’s license and sanctions that can be as severe as those for a DUI. Alternatively, alternative sobriety tests such as alcohol breath testing or even blood tests may be utilized. The Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test is a frequently given breathalyzer test in which the motorist blows into a handheld device. These examinations are well-known for their high degree of subjectivity. Failure to take the PAS can result in the suspension of one’s license, but so can being proven guilty. At some time, drivers will be required to undergo a test, but they can easily opt out of this particular preliminary test.

4. Official station examination. Once returned to the station, drivers typically have a choice between two sorts of examinations. The first is a breathalyzer test. DUI attorneys recommend choosing this one since its validity can be easily contested in court. Additionally, refusal of this breath test may result in a license suspension under implied consent regulations. Additionally, refusing a breath test a second time may look unfavorable in court. The second alternative is to get a blood test, which is typically more accurate and allows for subsequent retesting. Due to a 2016 court judgement, refusing this test will not result in prosecution.

5. Make a note of everything. Those arrested for DUI should take notes and begin writing down every item they recall. What to write about could include how much alcohol they consumed, when they were pulled over, how the cops behaved and what they said. Even the tiniest detail is vital, even if it appears inconsequential. For instance, a person wearing high heels would have difficulty conducting certain field sobriety tests. More information suggests that a person’s case has a stronger probability of success.

6. Consult a DUI attorney. A convicted driver’s DUI attorney is the final line of defense between them and prison, so choosing the correct one is critical. Defendants should ask prospective applicants various questions, including how many cases they have won and their level of experience. A smart attorney will do all possible to protect their client.

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New Laws Going into Affect in Washington State

The biggest recent change in Washington’s traffic laws is the new Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUIE) Act which bans all use of handheld electronic devices by drivers in the state. On May 16, Governor Lee Inslee signed the Act into law. He also signed off on a new DUI penalty and recommendations on dealing with impaired driving.

The law took effect July 23, in spite of a brief attempt to delay implementation until 2019. Drivers are now forbidden to use smartphones, tablets, laptops, and gaming devices while driving. The bill’s sponsor is Senator Ann Rivers (R – La River) had originally proposed an effective date of January 1, 2018. She later agreed to delay implementation by a year. Governor Jay Inslee decided to accelerate implementation even relative to the original effective date.

Distracted driving remains a huge problem on Washington roads. A recent study suggested that approximately 10% of Washington drivers are using some sort of handheld device. That observational study raised the question of how much compliance could be expected. However, the state does have a good track record of using laws and public education to change driving behavior. Drunk driving arrests have plummeted. Compliance with the state’s seat belt law is very high, as much as 95% according to one study.

Now, the Act is a law and the state faces a couple of new challenges. State law enforcement officers have a new law to enforce, and the behavior they have to police is nearly universal. The state also needs to mount a public education campaign to ensure drivers know the law and the consequences of a violation. In related news, on the same day that Governor Inslee signed the DUIE Act into law, he also signed legislation making a fourth DUI offense a felony.

Distracted or impaired drivers kill or injured hundreds of people in Washington every year. If you believe your injury accident was caused by a distracted or impaired driver, please contact our car accident law office to discuss your case.