Drug and Criminal Defense in San Diego
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Defending Charges of HS 11377(a) & HS 11350(a)

According to the National Safety Council, drug overdoses have now surpassed traffic accidents as the leading cause of injury related death in the United States. More than 38,000 people died from drug overdose in 2010. Prescription pain medications contributed to the largest number of deaths. In 2010, approximately 16,000 people in the US died from prescription pain medication overdose.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that there are nearly 2 million people in the United States addicted to opioid pain medications – these can include brand and generic names, such as:

The US policy towards prescription pain medication changed in the 1990s, because professional medical organizations did not think physicians were adequately treating pain. Along with this change in policy came new prescription pain relievers as well as a greater willingness to prescribe them.

What does the prosecution have to prove to convict someone of unlawful possession of prescription drugs?

In California, unlawful possession of prescription drugs may be prosecuted under Health and Safety Code Sections 11350(a) or HS 11377(a).

To prove that someone did unlawfully possess a prescription drug, the prosecutor has to prove following:

  1. The defendant [unlawfully] possessed a controlled substance;
  2. The defendant knew of its presence;
  3. The defendant knew of the substance's nature or character as a controlled substance;
  4. The controlled substance was ________________


  1. The controlled substance was in a usable amount.

Trace amounts or debris are not usable amounts. However, a usable amount does not have to be enough, in either amount or strength, to affect the user.

There are numerous defenses, including a valid prescription, 4 th amendment violations, actual possession, etc., that may be applicable to your case. Contact my office today if you need help with a prescription drug case.