Health And Safety Code Section 11550 makes it illegal for someone in California to be under the influence of a controlled substance. The elements to this crime are:
- Defendant willfully used a controlled substance.
- Defendant was under the influence of the controlled substance.
The Health And Safety Code has a rather exhaustive list of substances that are classified as “controlled.” Typically, for the purposes of Health And Safety Code Section 11550, any substance that requires a prescription is illegal if used by someone who does not possess a prescription for that substance. Additionally, other substances are universally illegal, such as Methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroine.
As for the second element, being under the influence, Health and Safety Code Section 11550 has been interpreted by the court in the case of People v. Jones. In this case the court held that usage of a controlled substance within 48 hours constitutes current use. Therefore, someone can be found in violation of the Health And Safety Code Section 11550 even if the last time they used a controlled substance was two days prior.
When facing charges for violation of Health And Safety Code Section 11550, an attorney can either take the case to trial or negotiate a favorable plea-deal. Defendant's who are convicted of Health And Safety Code Section 11550 are typically eligible for proposition 36 sentencing, which allows for s suspended sentence including probation and drug treatment.