Ketamine is illegal outside of a licensed medical setting, both in California and under federal laws. Proposition 47 classifies the possession of ketamine for personal use as a misdemeanor offense.
The charges for selling ketamine, transporting ketamine, or distributing ketamine are not reduced. Ketamine is classified as a Schedule III non-narcotic under federal law.
This makes it illegal to do any of the following with the drug:
Under California laws, the following actions with ketamine are illegal:
- Giving away;
- Administering the drug outside of a medical setting.
If an individual is convicted of ketamine possession in California, they may face up to one year in jail for personal possession. An individual may also be given probation and criminal fines of up to $1,000.
If an individual has any questions regarding the possible charges and punishments related to ketamine in California, they should consult with a California drug lawyer.
What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a drug that is typically used to begin and maintain anesthesia. It provides a patient with sedation, memory loss, and pain relief.
In medical settings, ketamine is used for sedation in intensive care in addition to the treatment of pain and depression. Outside of medical settings, ketamine is known as a club drug.
A club drug is referred to as such because it is popular for use in clubs. Club drugs are commonly psychoactive in nature.
- They are most commonly used by teenagers and young adults at bars, nightclubs, concerts, and parties.
Club drugs may also be called designer drugs because they are man-made and manufactured instead of being found in or derived from nature. In other words, they are chemically created by individuals instead of being grown like opiates or cannabis.
The majority of club drugs are illegal and may cause serious injury, illness, or even death. These drugs may be unpredictable in how they affect an individual.
They may also include different ingredients than the user anticipated. In many cases, these types of drugs look similar to prescription medications and appear to be safe.
Some individuals, however, may take these types of drugs without knowing exactly what they contain. They may also combine them with other drugs, which can produce dangerous consequences.
What Does Selling Ketamine to a Minor Refer To?
Selling ketamine to a minor occurs when a defendant exchanges ketamine for something of value with a minor for the purpose of selling ketamine. A minor is typically an individual under the age of 18, but this may vary by state.
Something of value may include services, money, or goods.
What if I Didn’t Sell the Drug but Gave It Away Instead?
Under California laws, giving away a controlled substance is still considered to be a criminal offense. Because of this, an individual may still face criminal charges for giving away ketamine to a minor.
It is important to note that the ketamine given away must have been in a usable amount.
What Does It Mean if I Am Accused of Administering Ketamine to a Minor?
If an individual is accused of administering ketamine to a minor, it typically means that the defendant purposefully applied the drug to a minor. Administer refers to applying to another individual’s body and may include injections or giving an individual a drink that has been laced with ketamine.
Administering ketamine to a minor can also include putting out a line of the drug for the individual to snort.
What Will Prosecutors Have to Prove Regarding Me Giving, Selling, Administrating, or Furnishing Ketamine to a Minor?
In order for an individual to be convicted of a ketamine drug crime involving a minor, the prosecution is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- Unlawfully gave away, sold, administered, or furnished ketamine to a minor;
- Was aware of the presence of ketamine;
- Knew that ketamine is a controlled substance;
- Was over the age of 18 when the crime was committed;
- Knew the recipient was under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed;
- Knew that the substance was actually ketamine; and
- Offered a usable amount of ketamine.
The defendant may have been accused of offering to sell, furnish, administer, or give ketamine to a minor. If so, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to perform the action that they had offered to perform.
What Is the Penalty for Providing, Administering, Furnishing, or Giving Ketamine to a Minor?
The punishments for ketamine drug crimes that involve minors are harsh when they are compared to other drug crimes that involve ketamine. If an individual is convicted of providing, administering, furnishing, or giving ketamine to a minor, they may face three, six, or nine years in a state prison.
If an individual is convicted of offering to sell, furnish, administer, or give ketamine to a minor, the punishment will be the same. It is important to note that providing, administering, furnishing, or giving ketamine to a minor is a felony offense.
In California, simple possession of ketamine is a misdemeanor. The California Health and Safety Code provides that a misdemeanor charge for possession of ketamine may carry:
- Up to a one-year sentence in county jail;
- Up to a $1,000 criminal fine;
- A combination of both.
Instead of incarceration, an individual may be required to pay a fine and perform community service. If they are a repeat offender, they may not be eligible to perform community service, and the charges brought against them may be enhanced.
Another common enhancement to drug charges in California is distribution to a minor, which usually enhances the charges from a misdemeanor to a felony. If an individual has any questions about the charges they may face, they should consult with a local California attorney.
Are There Any Defenses Against Offering Ketamine to a Minor?
There may be some defenses available to the charge of selling ketamine to a minor. It is important to note that the availability of any defenses will depend on the facts of each specific case.
Commonly used defenses to selling ketamine to a minor include that the defendant:
- Did not actually furnish or sell the ketamine to the minor;
- Did not know ketamine was present, for example, being unaware that a substance they provided to the minor included ketamine;
- Did not know that ketamine is a controlled substance;
- Did not actually intend to perform any of the actions they offered to do;
- Does not have access to ketamine; or
- Was falsely accused of offering ketamine to a minor.
Defenses to possession of ketamine may include that the defendant:
- Has a valid prescription to possess ketamine;
- Did not know that they were in possession of ketamine;
- Did not know that ketamine is a controlled substance;
- Had their rights violated by law enforcement.
Can a Lawyer Help Me With My Charge?
If you have been charged with a ketamine crime in California, it is essential to consult with a California drug lawyer. Your lawyer can review your case and determine if any defenses may be available to you.
Your lawyer can explain the charges against you and possible enhancements as well. If you are charged with a ketamine crime that involves a minor, it is even more important to consult with a lawyer, as you may face felony charges.
Your attorney can try to negotiate with the prosecution for a plea deal or a reduction in the charges against you.