In California, heroin, like most opium derivatives, is considered a Schedule I controlled substance. The Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Division 10 of the California Health and Safety Code, outlines the drug laws and penalties in the state. Simple possession of heroin, or possession for personal use, is considered a misdemeanor offense in California. Possessing with the intent to sell, selling, transporting and manufacturing heroin are all considered to be felony offenses in the state.
California laws on simple possession
State laws make it illegal to possess any amount of heroin or to be under the influence. The penalties for this misdemeanor offense include $70 to $1,000 in fines and up to one year in jail. Lighter penalties include summary probation or completing a drug diversion program to have the charges dismissed. Those with previous felony convictions could have the simple possession charges upgraded to a felony offense, carrying up to four years behind bars.
More on heroin laws in California
Under California HSC 11351, possessing heroin with intent to sell is a felony offense punishable by up to $20,000 in fines and four years behind bars. Any amount exceeding one kilogram warrants penalties of 3 to 25 years behind bars and up to $8 million in fines. Sentencing is the same for drug crimes like selling or transporting over a kilogram of heroin. Selling or transporting any amount of heroin is punishable by five years in jail and up to $20,000 in fines.
Anyone convicted of transporting heroin over two or more county lines may face up to $20,000 in fines and up to nine years in prison. If the amount sold or transported exceeds 14.25 grams or the defendant has a previous conviction, the fines could increase to $50,000. In California, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of heroin is considered a misdemeanor. Being in the same room as someone using heroin is also a misdemeanor.