This code section makes it unlawful for someone to control a space, building, or room, or to allow someone to use that space, building, or room for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, or distributing any controlled substance for sale or distribution. Also, it doesn’t matter whether the person was compensated or not. This law applies to anyone who has control of the space, building, or room, either as an owner, lessee, agent, employee, or mortgagee.
Cal HS 11366.5(a), is considered a lesser offense to a violation of Cal HS 11358, “Cultivation of Marijuana,” or even Cal HS 11366, “Opening or Maintaining a place for the purpose of selling a controlled substance.” While HS 11358 is a “straight Felony”, meaning it can not be reduced to a Misdemeanor, a violation of Cal HS 11366.5 may be charged as either a Felony or a Misdemeanor. The main difference is that with a Felony, the consequences are either probation or state prison for 16, 24, or 36 months. If it’s a Misdemeanor, probation will be granted (formal or informal), and the consequences will be a maximum of one year in county jail, with the possibility of no jail at all.
However, unlike HS 11358, there is no option to get a deferred entry of judgement (DEJ) under HS 11366.5. In order to get DEJ for violating HS 11358, the marijuana must be cultivated for personal use. DEJ allows the court authority to dismiss a case after a period of time (usually 6-18 months) is completed with no new arrests or convictions. However, if there is too much marijuana confiscated to be for personal use, DEJ will not be an option for a HS 11358 charge.
The Law Office of Ben Mironer has been very successful in handling various types of marijuana cultivation cases. An initial allegation of a violation of HS 11358, may be reduced to a violation of Cal HS 11366.5, as part of a plea bargain deal. The main benefit of this lesser offense is that it is a “wobbler,” meaning it may be charged as misdemeanor or a felony. When it’s charged as a felony, the court still has discretion to reduce it to a misdemeanor at various portions of the case. The court will sometimes allow an individual to plead to the Felony, with the understanding the matter will be reduced to a Misdemeanor after a specific period of time.
An individual is not convicted of an offense at the time when they enter a plea of guilty/no contest. They are actually only convicted upon being “sentenced” for an offense. This means that an individual who initially plead to a Felony, but was later sentenced to a Misdemeanor, will only be convicted of a Misdemeanor.
Cal HS 11366.5(a) gives the individual being charged with a Felony, an opportunity to get the charges reduced to a Misdemeanor. This may happen either during the time the case is on going, or possibly after a case has resolved. It is critical to have an attorney on your side that knows the various nuances of the law as related to drug offenses. The Law Office of Ben Mironer has a track record of successfully handling drug related charges, and providing our clients with the help they deserve.