Possession of Adderall Without a Prescription
Adderall is a prescription medication that is frequently used to treat conditions like Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, this drug is also a controlled substance that carries a high risk of dependency.
Adderall is a federally controlled substance made of a mixture of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and acts to stimulate the central nervous system.
Under California Health and Safety Code 11350 HS, illegally possessing Adderall is typically charged as a misdemeanor crime, which carries up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted. To “possess” means to have it on your person without a valid prescription.
HS 11350 is the standard law prohibiting someone from possessing certain controlled substances without a valid prescription. A “controlled substance” is described as a drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession, and use are regulated by the “Controlled Substances Act (CSA).”
Under Schedule II of the CSA, Adderall is listed as a controlled substance, meaning possession of this chemical falls under Health and Safety Code 11350 HS. Simply put, you can only lawfully possess Adderall if you have a valid prescription.
If you are found in possession of Adderall and cannot provide evidence of a valid prescription, you could face misdemeanor charges and the possibility of up to one year in jail. Sometimes, illegal possession of a controlled substance can be prosecuted as a felony if you have certain prior convictions, such as sex crimes, and serious felonies, such as murder.
What is Adderall?
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Adderall as a Schedule II controlled substance. This classification means that while the drug has a recognized medical use, it also has a high potential for abuse, which can lead to severe physical and psychological dependence. Schedule II controlled substances are drugs that:
- Have a high potential for abuse but less than Schedule I drugs and
- Possibly lead to severe psychological or physical dependence if abused.
Adderall is a potent stimulant composed of two key ingredients: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. This drug works by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that help with focus, attention, and impulse control.
When appropriately prescribed, it helps patients with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD maintain a baseline level of stimulation and focus. As noted, Adderall is also often prescribed to treat narcolepsy.
However, for people without a legitimate medical reason to use it, Adderall abuse can provide an excessive boost of energy and a sense of euphoria caused by dopamine release—and many students take it as a "study buddy" to pull all-nighters. The abuse of Adderall can result in the following side effects:
- Mood swings,
- Dry Mouth,
- High blood pressure,
- Loss of appetite,
- Weight loss.
Misuse of this drug can lead to chemical dependency as the brain develops a tolerance to it, requiring larger doses to get the same effect. It also brings the potential for severe health risks, including heart disease, elevated blood pressure, and mental health disorders.
What Drug Crimes Involve Adderall?
As noted, under California Health & Safety Code 11350, Adderall without a prescription is considered a misdemeanor offense. This law prohibits the possession of Schedule II controlled substances, including Adderall, without a valid prescription.
To convict you of a crime under HS 11350, prosecutors must demonstrate the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You were found to have a controlled substance in your possession,
- You were aware of the substance's presence,
- You understood that the drug in question was a controlled substance,
- The quantity was in a usable amount, and
- You did not have a valid prescription for the drug.
Notably, under some circumstances, you could also face other related drug crimes that involve Adderall, such as the following:
- Possession of Adderall with intent to sell (HS 11351)
- Sale and transportation of Adderall (HS 11352)
- Possession of Adderall While Armed with a Firearm (HS 11370.1)
What Constitutes Possession?
California law recognizes three types of possession under HSC 11350:
- Actual Possession refers to having physical custody of the drug. For example, if Adderall is in your pocket, you possess it.
- Constructive Possession means that while you may not have the drug on your person, you have control over the place where it is located. For instance, if Adderall is found in your locker, you could be deemed to have constructive possession of it.
- Joint Possession refers to the situation where two or more people share control over the drug. If you and a friend jointly have control over a stash of Adderall, you both could be considered to have joint possession.
A usable amount is any amount that is enough to be used by somebody as a controlled substance. The amount does not need to be enough to impact the person taking it. However, traces or debris are not considered usable amounts.
What Are Penalties for a Conviction?
Being convicted of possessing Adderall without a prescription can lead to penalties that include:
- Up to one year in county jail and
- At least $1000 in fines (at least $2000 if this is not your first offense).
However, the judge also has the latitude to impose probation instead of jail time, including a mandatory amount of community service hours.
Can You Take a Diversionary Program?
In each of these cases, you would undergo a mandatory treatment and drug education program instead of a conviction and jail time. The charges against you would be dismissed upon successful completion of the program. These programs are typically reserved for non-violent, first-time offenders.
What Are the Common Defenses?
If you've been charged under HS 11350 for illegal possession of Adderall, a skilled California criminal defense attorney may be able to employ one of several strategies to combat the charges. These include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of Knowledge: You were not aware that you had Adderall. For example, someone slipped the pills into your bag without your knowledge, or you inadvertently picked up someone else's bag with the drugs inside.
- Valid Prescription: You have a valid prescription from a licensed medical professional. This can often be verified by contacting your physician or pharmacy.
- Temporary Possession: You had Adderall temporarily and were attempting to dispose of it. This defense asserts that you did not intend to use or control the substance.
- Unlawful Search and Seizure: If Adderall was discovered during an illegal search by law enforcement. If a court agrees that your Fourth Amendment rights were violated during the search, the evidence cannot be used against you.
If you need more information, contact our law firm for a case review and to discuss the legal options moving forward. Eisner Gorin LLP has offices in Los Angeles, CA.
- Prescription Drug Crimes
- Controlled Substances Act (CSA)
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine
- California Health and Safety Code 11350 HS
- California Health and Safety Code 11351 HS
- California Health and Safety Code 11352 HS
- California Health and Safety Code 11370.1 HS