All Narcotics Offenses


 The most common narcotics offense is "possession" of an illegal chemical substance, as defined by California statutes. The standard California jury instruction defines possession as follows:

There are two kinds of possession: actual possession and constructive possession.

"Actual possession" requires that a person knowingly exercise direct physical control over a thing.
"Constructive possession" does not require actual possession but does require that a person knowingly exercise control over or the right to control a thing, either directly or through another person or persons.

[One person may have possession alone, or two or more persons together may share actual or constructive possession.]

In order to prove this crime, each of the following elements must be proved:
1. A person exercised control over or the right to control an amount of _________ , a controlled substance;
2. That person knew of its presence;
3. That person knew of its nature as a controlled substance; and
4. The substance was in an amount sufficient to be used as a controlled substance.

(CALJIC 12.00 [emphasis added])

If investigating officers find what they believe to be evidence that an individual possesses narcotics with the intent to sell them, the penalties are more severe. Large quantities of narcotics, large amounts of cash, scales, and notes of transactions are commonly considered evidence of intent to sell. Some law enforcement investigators are quick to assume intent to sell with very little supporting evidence


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