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The present status of California's drug possession laws

Despite public press and warnings, young people and others in the Riverside area continue to use drugs that are either are or until recently were illegal under both California's laws and under the laws of the federal government.

People use drugs for a lot of reasons, and it is not always just that they are people who feel themselves above the law. Many times, for instance, young people give in to peer pressure or in to their own curiosity. Other people struggle with addiction or other problems and are using drugs to self-medicate.

Some may therefore describe it as fortunate that California is, relatively speaking, lenient on simple drug possession. As many know, the possession and use of marijuana is legal under certain circumstances. As a word of caution, though, this drug is only legal for people over 21 and only under a certain amount. Other restrictions apply. For instance, someone driving under the influence of marijuana can still be punished.

Moreover, under a separate California law, possession of other drugs is only punishable as a misdemeanor, meaning a person cannot go to state prison or face a felony conviction simply for possessing drugs for personal use.

Still, drug possession charges in California need to be taken seriously. They are criminal cases, and they can land a person in jail or on probation. Fines can be imposed, and even a misdemeanor conviction for drug possession can have far-ranging and unexpected professional and personal consequences. An experienced criminal law attorney can help a person mitigate or even avoid some or all of these consequences.

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