The prescription drug called alprazolam, or Xanax, is commonly used to treat chemical imbalances in the brain associated with anxiety. The drug is legal with a valid prescription. Without a valid prescription, it’s considered illegal and a Schedule IV controlled substance.

How Does California Define Xanax Possession for Personal Use Charge?

In California, the charge of Xanax Possession for Personal Use is defined as possessing Xanax without a valid prescription or in an amount exceeding prescribed use. 

What If The Prescription Isn’t Currently Valid?

It’s considered illegal to possess Xanax for personal use if the prescription is expired.

What If I Didn’t Have the Xanax on My Person at the Time of My Arrest?

It doesn’t matter if a defendant doesn’t have the drug on their person at the time of the arrest. Actual possession occurs when the defendant has Xanax on their person, like in their pocket. However, the police can arrest for constructive Xanax possession. Constructive possession occurs when a defendant has the Xanax in an area under their control, such as their home or bag.

How Can The Prosecution Prove I Possessed Xanax Illegally?

There are specific elements a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Defendant didn’t have a valid prescription for Xanax.
  • The possession was actual or constructive;
  • The defendant knew of the drug’s presence;
  • The defendant knew the drug is Xanax; and
  • The defendant had the drug in a usable amount. 

How is Usable Amount Defined in California?

In California, a useable amount means more than a dusting or trace. It has to be enough to consume. 

Is Possession of Xanax a Felony?

No, in California possession of Xanax is a misdemeanor. You may be sentenced for up to 364 days (less than 1 year) in jail and may be sentenced to alternative programs, like drug diversion.

Should I Consult a Lawyer for Help Regarding My Charge?

Yes. You should contact a California criminal lawyer about your possession of Xanax charge. The attorney will discuss possible defenses available to use in your case.