Since 1971, a Former Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice State of California, Sam Spital prosecuted cases in all State and Federal Courts through the California Supreme Court as well as the US Supreme Court. Since 1978, he has handled the defense of drug cases throughout San Diego County.

Health & Safety Code section 11350 identifies possession of controlled substances, narcotics and drugs as prohibited and unlawful. Due to the federal court sentencing guidelines, even first-time drug offenders face a suggested maximum of one year in prison with subsequent offenses exposing defendants to penalties, including severe prison sentences, fines and other consequences. If you, a friend, a family member or loved one is facing drug possession charges, it is important to have a tough, smart and experienced San Diego drug possession lawyer fighting to disprove the charges.

Speak to a San Diego Drug Possession Defense Attorney

At Spital & Associates, we present powerful arguments against the drug possession charges. Our San Diego drug possession defense attorneys focus on criminal defense as their sole or primary area of practice and know the prosecutors, the court and legal system in drug possession cases. Our founder, Samuel Spital, has more than 39 years of legal experience, including experience as a criminal prosecutor.

Need a strong defense to fight a drug possession charge or offense? Want to really level the playing field? Call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 619-583-0350.

Drug Possession Charges in San Diego

Simple possession of drugs requires the offender to knowingly and intentionally possess a scheduled drug without a valid prescription. The government must prove the offender knew the drug was a controlled substance and had either actual possession of it, or other control over it, either alone or with another.

We work to marginalize the prosecution’s case by distinguishing the nature and variety of drug in our client’s case, the quantity of the drug involved and our client’s prior record, if any. We will present powerful factual and legal arguments that conviction of possession of drugs, for example, should receive a sentence of drug treatment rather than county jail time, and we will seek probation with the best terms and conditions for our clients who are first-time offenders if we are unable to have the charges dismissed and/or reduced.

For more information on the options that may be available to you, including a deferred entry of judgment, or a diversion program, as well as possible some of the mitigating factors, see our Drug Charges page.

Types of Drug Possession Charges

We defend aggressively against all varieties of drug possession charges, including:

  • Possession of drugs, narcotics and/or controlled substances
  • Possession of drugs, narcotics and/or controlled substances with intent to sell
  • Planting or cultivating marijuana
  • Manufacturing of drugs, narcotics and/or controlled substances
  • Trafficking in drugs, narcotics and/or controlled substances across the border from Mexico

Drug Possession Penalties

The penalties for drug offenses are severe. Besides having to serve time in the San Diego County Jail, you could be sentenced to state prison.

In addition, if your vehicle, money in your possession or anything that can be linked to the drug crime is involved, it could be subjected to a forfeiture proceeding and taken away. Of course, you can lose your driver’s license, jeopardize your employment, ability to maintain or later get a professional state Board license, have to pay a fine, and/or be required to register as a narcotics offender.

You should know the penalty for a drug crime depends upon how the prosecutor charges the crime, which is often based upon the type and quantity of drugs involved, whether the drugs were deemed for personal use or for sale, and if you have a prior criminal record, particularly any prior drug convictions. For example, if this is a second offense for drug sales, there is a minimum three-year enhancement that is added to the based penalty for your prior sales conviction.

If your drug crime is charged as a felony, the following sentencing parameters apply to determine the length of the sentence and any other penalty:

  • The base term
  • Enhancements for conduct, such as a sale to a minor under 21, selling drugs on or near a school, etc.
  • Enhancements for prior convictions or a drug offense alleged to be committed while there are existing drug charges already on file.

It is noteworthy that the Three Strikes Law in California can result in a far greater sentence if you have at least one prior conviction of a serious felony.

Defense Against Drug Possession Charges

We will present a persuasive defense on your behalf and work to establish all of the facts in mitigation, such as the following:

  • Actual or potential harm to the public of the drug crime or drug possession charge
  • Prior overall criminal record, if any for the drug possession arrest
  • Level of compliance with sentence and terms of probation in the drug case
  • Prior arrests of record of the defendant
  • Number and/or variety of current drug violations or other drug charges
  • Nature and severity of the drug offenses under consideration
  • Rehabilitation and remorse of the defendant charged with a drug possession crime
  • Time passed since the underlying drug offense
  • The financial benefit to the defendant, if any from the drug possession offense
  • Whether our client was suffering from a mental or physical condition that significantly reduced culpability for the drug offense(s)
  • Whether the defendant is ineligible for probation in San Diego
  • Whether the defendant made restitution to the victim
  • Whether the drug charges involved great violence, great bodily harm, threat of great bodily harm, or other acts disclosing a high degree of cruelty, viciousness and/or callousness
  • The defendant was not armed with or used a weapon at the time of the commission of the drug crime
  • The defendant did not induce a minor to commit or assist in the commission of the offense
  • The defendant was not convicted of other crimes for which consecutive sentences could have been imposed but for which concurrent sentences are being imposed
  • The manner in which the crime was carried out does not indicate planning, sophistication or professionalism
  • The drug offense did not involve an attempted or actual taking or damage of great monetary value
  • The case did not involve a large quantity of contraband
  • The defendant did not take advantage of a position of trust or confidence to commit the offense
  • The defendant charged with a drug possession offense has not engaged in violent conduct that indicates a serious danger to society
  • The defendant has not served a prior prison term
  • The defendant was not on probation or parole when the crime was committed

Consequences of Drug Possession Charges

  • County jail or state prison incarceration
  • A permanent criminal record
  • Significant fines for the conviction
  • Probation or Parole
  • Mandatory AA or NA classes and treatment
  • Losing your right to own a deadly weapon
  • Unable to obtain and/or difficulty with employment
  • Lifetime revocation of your California driver’s license
  • Being subject to denial of a state board license or having your professional license suspended or revoked

If you are being investigated, have been arrested or are otherwise facing drug possession charges, we want to be your personal San Diego drug charge attorneys. Contact us online or call 619-583-0350 for a free drug possession lawyer consultation to find out how we can help you. You can even contact us before posting bail.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a San Diego criminal defense attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.


Main Offices
8880 Rio San Diego Drive, Suite 800
San Diego, CA 92108-1642
Telephone: 619-583-0350
Fax: 619-583-1850

Chula Vista Associate’s Office
By Appointment Only
Chula Vista, Ca. 91910
Call for FREE Consultation: 619.583.0350 or send us an e-mail.

Associates available 24/7.
Call (619) 583-0350 or send us an e-mail.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.