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Unlawful Possession of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine. It has gained in popularity because it is up to 100 times stronger than morphine. It is used to treat severe pain and chronic pain. Fentanyl can be prescribed; however, it is often sold on the streets in a powder form or made into pills. Because of its strength, it is often mixed with other drugs, such as heroine, methamphetamine, MDMA, and cocaine. Unfortunately, overdoses are common with fentanyl. Naloxone can be used to treat overdoses, but it will take multiple doses of naloxone because of the potency of fentanyl.

Recent new stories in San Diego County have highlighted the dangerousness of fentanyl due to its potency, and when mixed with other drugs, its propensity to induce overdose. For example, 44 pounds worth 1.5 million dollars were found in a vehicle in South San Diego County; fentanyl and a hash oil butane lab was raided in Chula Vista; and a North County San Diego man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling heroin laced with fentanyl to a man who died from an overdose.

Unlawful possession of fentanyl is prosecuted under Health and Safety Code Section 11350(a), as a misdemeanor. If convicted, the person can face up to one year in county jail. It is important to remember that for possession, the person does not have to actually hold or touch the fentanyl to possess it. If the person has control over the fentanyl or the right to control the drug, even through a third person, that can be enough for an arrest and conviction. For example, if someone owns and drives a vehicle and the fentanyl were found in the backseat or trunk of the vehicle, he or she can be charged with possession. Or if someone has another person hold the fentanyl for them, he or she can be charged with possession.

Fentanyl can also be prosecuted as a felony under HS 11351, Possession for Sale, and HS 11352, Transportation for Sale. If convicted under HS 11351, the person can face up to four years in prison. If convicted under HS 11352, the person can face up to five years in prison.

The district attorney prosecutes fentanyl cases very seriously. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime involving fentanyl, contact Kern Law, APC today. We will evaluate your case and develop a strong defense against the charges. We provide a free, confidential consultation.