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Possession of Methamphetamine HS 11377(a)

California Proposition 47 passed in November 2014. The law, known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, reduced felony possession of a controlled substance to a misdemeanor. Possession of methamphetamine was included in this act. Prop 47 minimizes the impact of a HS 11377(a) conviction; however, it remains an allegation with serious criminal consequences.

To prove that someone is guilty of HS 11377(a), the prosecutor must prove the following:

1. The defendant unlawfully possessed methamphetamine;

2. The defendant knew of its presence;

3. The defendant knew of the substance's nature or character as a controlled substance;

4. The substance was in fact methamphetamine;


5. The methamphetamine was in a usable amount.

Useable Amount:

The quantity of methamphetamine has to be enough that it can be used by someone as a controlled substance. Trace or debris amounts are not considered useable amounts. However, a useable amount does not have to be enough to affect the user, in either strength or amount.


Actually holding or touching the drug is not required for possession. If someone has control or the right to control the drug, either personally or through another person (constructive possession), he or she may still be charged with possession.


There are numerous defenses to a HS 11377(a) charge. The first step usually involves the validity of the search and seizure of the drug. Was the search conducted with a warrant? If not, was there an applicable warrant exception. If the search was conducted with a warrant, was the warrant valid. That is, did it meet all of the statutory requirements under PC section 1524(a) and PC section 1529? Did the person actually possess the methamphetamine or was it in possession of another party, and was the drug in a usable amount. This is a small sample of potential defenses.

If you have been arrested, charged, or under investigation for possession of methamphetamine, contact my office today. I will provide a free, confidential consultation.