Sale and Transport of Adderall Law in California

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 Is Adderall Illegal in California?

Adderall is a mixture of 2 amphetamines that may be used with a prescription as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that acts on chemicals in the brain and nervous system that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.

Per the list of controlled substances in the federal Controlled Substances Act, Adderall is a Schedule II narcotic. That makes it a controlled substance unless it is obtained with a prescription. It can be used legally if dispensed with a prescription from a licensed physician and used as prescribed.

California’s Health and Safety Code also makes possession of Adderall a misdemeanor criminal offense if a person possesses it without a prescription or uses it other than as directed by a prescription.

The classification of Adderall as a Schedule II controlled substance means that it has a high potential for abuse. The use of Adderall can lead to severe psychological and physical dependence on the substance.

Ritalin, a methylphenidate drug, is also a Schedule II controlled substance. It is also used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy and also has the potential for abuse and physical dependence.

Vicodin is a pain medication that contains acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter pain medication, but hydrocodone is an opioid. Because Vicodin contains hydrocodone, Vicodin is a Schedule II controlled substance like Adderall and Ritalin.

Oxycontin is a brand name for oxycodone, yet another Schedule II controlled substance. Oxycontin contains oxycodone, which is a very strong and addictive opioid. It is prescribed for the management of the most severe kinds of pain, i.e., pain that cannot be managed with other, less powerful and addictive pain medications.

The transport and sale of all of these Schedule II controlled substances could lead to criminal charges and, if a person is convicted, to possible prison time.

What Is the California Law on Sale and Transport of Adderall?

In California, there are several crimes involving Adderall. These include the following:

  • The possession of Adderall without a valid prescription;
  • The possession of Adderall with the intent to sell;
  • The sale and transportation of Adderall; and
  • The possession of Adderall while in possession of a firearm.

Conviction of any of these crimes can lead to serious punishment, including lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines. Additional charges may also be filed against a perpetrator depending on the circumstances that lead to their arrest.

Under California law, possession of Adderall without a valid prescription is a misdemeanor criminal offense. Illegal possession is punishable by up to 364 days in county jail as well as payment of a fine.

To sell Adderall is to exchange it for money, services, or anything of value. Transporting in this offense means moving Adderall from one location to another. It does not matter how far the Adderall is moved as long as it is relocated.

In California, possession of Adderall with the intent to sell is a felony. If convicted, a person can face 2 to 4 years in state prison as well as the payment of fines. It is illegal to sell and/or transport the drug without authorization, e.g., such as a licensed pharmacist has.

The possession of Adderall while armed with a firearm is also a felony, and a perpetrator can serve 2 to 4 years in a state prison. The sale and transportation of Adderall is discussed in the following sections.

What Does a Prosecutor Need to Prove to Convict Me of This Offense?

In order to convict a person of the sale and transport of Adderall, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The person illegally transported or sold Adderall;
  • The person knew the substance they transported or sold was Adderall;
  • The person possessed Adderall in a usable amount, as discussed below.

What Is Considered a “Usable” Amount?

A usable amount is defined as enough of the substance to be used by a person in such a way that it would have an effect on them. Mere debris, dustings, or traces of the substance are not enough to be a usable amount.

The amount does not depend on the specific person who possesses it, but it must be enough to consume. It does not have to be enough to intoxicate the individual, either in amount or strength.

What Does “Transportation” Mean?

Transportation of a controlled substance means the individual moved the substance from one location to another. It does not matter where it was moved, so long as it was moved.

How Does the Law Define Unlawful Possession of Adderall?

Unlawful possession of Adderall occurs when a person possesses the drug but does not have a valid prescription. It is not necessary for the person to hold or touch the drug to possess it. Suppose the person has control over the drug or the right to control it, either personally or through another. Agreeing to purchase Adderall alone does not amount to control over the substance.

Unlawful possession of Adderall can be actual, constructive, and/or joint. A person has actual possession of a substance if it is found on their person, such as in their pocket or handbag.

Constructive possession is when a person does not have the substance on their person but has access to it and/or the right to exercise control over it. The substance may be found in a person’s bedroom or the passenger compartment in their car, a place over which they have access and control. If this is the case, they have constructive possession.

Joint possession extends actual and/or constructive possession. This occurs when two or more people share actual or constructive possession of the substance. Usually, it occurs when the substance is found in a shared space where both people have constructive possession.

What Is Knowledge of the Presence and Nature of Adderall?

In order to be convicted, a person must know about the nature of and the presence of Adderall. The person does not have to know the chemical components of the drug, just that it is a controlled substance.

As noted above, “selling” for the purpose of this crime has its ordinary meaning: the exchange of Adderall for money, services, or anything of value. Again, transporting for the purpose of this crime means to move some Adderall from one place to another. It does not matter how far Adderall is moved. It must simply be relocated.

What Is the Punishment for a Transportation and Sale of Adderall Conviction in California?

The sale and transport of Adderall is a felony in California. The punishment for selling and transporting Adderall in California is 3, 4, or 5 years in state prison.

Are There Any Defenses to Adderall Possession Charge in California?

There may be defenses available to the charge of Adderall possession in California. These can include having a valid prescription. If a person possesses and uses Adderall pursuant to and in accordance with their valid prescription, no crime is committed.

Another possible defense to this charge is that the person did not know Adderall was in their possession. They may also be unaware of the nature of Adderall.

A person can also claim that the Adderall in their possession was found and seized pursuant to an illegal search and seizure.

Can a Lawyer Help Me Fight My Adderall Charge in California?

If you have been charged with the transport and sale of Adderall in California, you want to consult a local California drug attorney. Your attorney can review the facts of your case and identify any defenses you may have. Your attorney can protect your interests in plea negotiations and at a trial if that should become necessary.


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