CA Vehicle Code 23222(b)

Driving in Possession of Marijuana

Driving in Possession of MarijuanaCharges

California Vehicle Code 23222(b) punishes those who drive with up to 1 ounce of marijuana in their cars.  This is a separate crime from California Health and Safety Code 11357(b) – Possession of Marijuana  but the penalties are the same:

  • Up to $100 fine
  • Court costs

It’s important to note that VC 23222(b) only pertains to marijuana that is not in a concentrated form, like hash; nor does it pertain to large amounts of marijuana.  If you are caught with a large amount of marijuana in your vehicle then you will likely be charged with California Health and Safety Code 11359, Possession of Marijuana for Sale.

There are a few common defenses that a skilled criminal defense attorney can explore to prove your innocent of the charges:

  1. You are authorized to carry medical marijuana
  2. The marijuana did not belong to you
  3. The marijuana was discovered through an illegal search and seizure

The first defense is that you are authorized to possess marijuana, namely because you are a medical marijuana user or a caregiver.  If you are pulled over for a traffic violation and tell the officer that there is marijuana in the car then you cannot be cited for possessing marijuana.  However, you are not allowed to smoke marijuana while driving, even if you are a medical marijuana user.

The second defense is that the marijuana did not belong to you.  There are two varying degrees of possession in California: actual possession and constructive possession.

  • Actual possession refers to when you are physically carrying the drug, either in your hand, pocket or something that is attached to you, like a backpack.
  • Constructive possession refers to when drugs are found in something that you control, like your home or apartment.

If you get pulled over for a traffic violation and you are not in actual possession of the marijuana and did not know it was in the car then you should not be charged with VC 23222(b).  In order to be in possession of the drug you have to know of its presence.

The third defense is that the marijuana was discovered through an illegal search and seizure.  The police in California are held to a strict set of rules when searching you or your property.  If the police act in a way to violate those rules then any evidence that they’ve acquired while acting illegally will be dismissed.

If you were pulled over for a traffic violation and your car was illegally searched then your attorney will prove to the judge that the charges should be dropped.

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