Recently, a man was brought into the SCV Sheriff Station to undergo booking and processing after he was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance. During the process, the suspect was asked if he had any narcotics in his possession, to which he replied that he did not.
It was later discovered that he did, in fact, have narcotics in his possession. The suspect, C.J. Zepeda, 23, was then charged with the additional crime of bringing drugs into a jail or prison – a felony in California.
The suspect is currently being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
California Health and Safety Code 11550 HS is the law that makes it a crime for a person to be under the influence of a controlled substance or narcotic. Some examples of common narcotics that can warrant the charge include cocaine, heroin, and oxycodone.
The crime is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year of county jail. However, in some cases, the defendant may qualify for a drug diversion program. These programs allow those who have committed non-violent drug offenses to serve their sentences in drug treatment programs instead of jail or prison.
Bringing drugs into a jail or prison is a much more serious crime and is covered under California Penal Code 4573 PC. A common example of the crime is when a person comes to a jail or prison during visiting hours and tries to give narcotics to an inmate there. Another is when someone sends a letter or package with one or more controlled substances hidden within it.
As mentioned, violating PC 4573 is a felony under California law, and the penalties include imprisonment in the county jail for two, three, or four years. Sometimes, a judge may award a defendant with felony probation in lieu of part or all of their jail time.