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Criminal Defense Attorney for Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance

Health and Safety Code Section 11550(a) is the statute in California that criminalizes being under the influence of a controlled substance, without a valid prescription. For example, heroin, methamphetamine, or a prescription drug such as Percocet or Xanax. The consequences of a conviction for HS 11550 include up to one year in county jail, fines, and probation. It may also impact employment, reputation, and lead to a criminal record.

The District Attorney must establish the following to convict someone of HS 11550

  • The defendant was willfully and unlawfully under the influence of a controlled substance when he or she was arrested.

Under the Influence

Someone is under the influence of a controlled substance if that person has taken or used a controlled substance that has appreciably affected the person’s nervous system, brain, or muscles or has created in the person a detectable abnormal mental or physical condition. A chemical test will be conducted to determine the controlled substance.

Prescription Drug Defense

If the person charged had a valid prescription for that substance, and it was written by a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or veterinarian licensed to practice in California, this can prevent a conviction because it may be a complete defense to unlawful possession.

Fourth Amendment Defense

The Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments require law enforcement to obtain a valid search warrant before it conducts a search. There are some exceptions to the search warrant requirement. However, it is important to remember the general rule that a warrant is required to conduct a search. If evidence was obtained without a warrant, that evidence may be inadmissible in court, which may lead to a dismissal of the case.

If you have been charged or you are under investigation for being under the influence of a controlled substance, contact Kern Law, APC today. We have defended clients for 15 years that have been charged with HS11350.