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How Much Coke Is a Felony in California

Title: How Much Coke Is a Felony in California: Understanding Drug Possession Laws


California, like other states, has strict laws governing drug possession, including cocaine (commonly referred to as “coke”). Understanding these laws is crucial to avoid severe legal consequences. This article aims to shed light on the quantity of cocaine that constitutes a felony offense in California. Additionally, a FAQs section will address common concerns regarding drug possession and penalties.

Cocaine Possession Laws in California:

In the state of California, drug possession laws are outlined in the Health and Safety Code, specifically sections 11350 to 11356.5. These laws categorize controlled substances into different schedules based on their potential for abuse and recognized medical use.

Cocaine falls under Schedule II, which is reserved for drugs with a high potential for abuse but acknowledged medical uses in certain circumstances. Possessing any amount of cocaine is considered a crime in California, but the severity of the offense depends on the quantity involved.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor Possession:

In California, the possession of cocaine can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The determining factor is the amount possessed. While the specific quantities may vary, possessing more than 28.5 grams (approximately one ounce) of cocaine is generally considered a felony offense.

Felony Possession Penalties:

Possessing cocaine in amounts exceeding the specified limit can result in felony charges. The penalties for felony possession may include:

1. Imprisonment: A conviction for felony cocaine possession can lead to imprisonment in state prison for up to three years. However, the actual sentence may vary based on factors such as prior convictions, the defendant’s criminal history, and the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

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2. Fines: The court may impose fines of up to $20,000 for felony possession of cocaine. These fines can vary based on the specific circumstances of the case and the judge’s discretion.

3. Probation: In some cases, the court may grant probation instead of imprisonment. However, probation typically includes strict conditions such as mandatory drug testing, attending rehabilitation programs, and regular check-ins with a probation officer.


Q1. What if I am found with a small amount of cocaine for personal use?

A1. While possessing any amount of cocaine is illegal, possession of small amounts (less than 28.5 grams) may be charged as a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor possession carries lesser penalties, including up to one year in county jail and fines up to $1,000.

Q2. Is there a difference between possession for personal use and possession with intent to distribute?

A2. Yes, possession with intent to distribute is a separate offense and carries more severe penalties. It involves evidence indicating an intention to sell, distribute, or transport cocaine. The quantity of cocaine, packaging materials, cash, and other factors are considered in determining intent.

Q3. Are there any alternatives to imprisonment for drug offenders in California?

A3. California offers various alternatives to incarceration for non-violent drug offenders. These may include drug diversion programs, drug courts, or probation with mandatory rehabilitation programs. These alternatives focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Q4. Can a felony conviction for drug possession be expunged?

A4. In some cases, it may be possible to have a felony conviction for drug possession expunged or reduced to a misdemeanor. Eligibility depends on factors such as the nature of the offense, completion of probation, and subsequent rehabilitation efforts. Consulting with an experienced attorney is recommended to explore this option.

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Understanding the laws regarding cocaine possession in California is essential to avoid severe legal consequences. Possessing more than 28.5 grams of cocaine is generally considered a felony offense, carrying potential imprisonment, fines, and other penalties. It is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney if facing drug possession charges to explore available legal options. Remember, the best way to avoid legal trouble is to refrain from engaging in any illegal drug activities.

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