Possession, sale and transport of controlled substances result in criminal penalties under California law. However, the exact sentence will vary depending on the circumstances of your case. 

These are the California penalties for some of the most common drug crimes. 

Felony transport or sale 

Selling, transferring, importing or transporting a control substance is a felony in California. Offenders can receive three to five years in prison, or up to nine years if the crime involved crossing county lines. Prior convictions can add up to three years to the base sentence. 

Crimes involving minors 

Offenders who receive a conviction for hiring a minor to transport or sell drugs may receive a sentence of up to nine years in state prison. This sentence also applies if you sell drugs to an individual younger than 21. 

If you sell drugs within 1,000 feet of a playground or school zone, the judge can increase your prison sentence by up to two years. Selling drugs to a minor more than four years younger than you adds an additional three years to a state prison sentence. 

Manufacturing controlled substances 

Selling, transferring, importing or transferring the drugs used to make methamphetamine or PCP is also a felony in California. Offenders can receive between 16 months and six years in prison. 

Misdemeanor possession charges 

Under California law, possession of less than an ounce of a controlled substance constitutes a misdemeanor. A first offense only carries fines and probation, though subsequent offenses may result in 30 to 180 days in jail. 

Possession charges can result from actual possession, meaning the drug was on your person, or constructive possession, which means it was in your home or vehicle. If you have no prior drug offenses, you may qualify for an alternative sentencing program in California. With this option, the court will defer your sentence while providing an opportunity to successfully complete a substance abuse treatment program, which can help you avoid jail time and overcome addiction.