Doctors often prescribe Xanax for people with panic and anxiety disorders. Xanax falls under benzodiazepine drugs that work by slowing down the central nervous system's activity. Alprazolam is the generic name for Xanax. Other street names for the drug include school buses, totem poles, chill pills, benzos, bennies, Z-bars, and planks. Although Xanax can effectively treat panic and anxiety disorders, overdose risks cannot be overlooked. The risk of overdose led to the regulation of Xanax, particularly its use and possession. You could face a jail term or a fine if convicted of drug crimes involving Xanax. If you are accused of drug crimes involving Xanax, you need to seek the service of an attorney with experience in handling drug-related crimes.

Regulation Of Controlled Substances

Xanax is a drug regulated both at the federal and state levels. Xanax is regulated because it is categorized as a drug with the potential for dependence and abuse, and its use is subject to some restrictions.

Federal Regulation

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is a federal statute regulating the production, possession, and distribution of controlled substances like Xanax. The CSA is Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act 1970.

The CSA generally establishes a system for categorizing controlled substances in five levels based on the risk of dependence, the potential for abuse, and their medical use. The CSA gives the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) the powers to regulate the distribution of controlled substances and enforce the provisions of the Act.

DEA is also responsible for controlling the production, possession, and distribution of controlled substances. DEA also has the power to take action against organizations or people violating the provisions of the CSA.

The possession of Xanax could be deemed a federal case if your crime involves violations of federal laws, including:

  • Firearm crimes.
  • Money laundering.
  • Importation of Xanax from other countries.
  • Distribution of Xanax beyond the state boundaries.

State Regulation

The regulation of Xanax at the state level is enforceable through the following statutes:

  • Possession for sale of Xanax — Health and Safety Codes 11375 (b) (1).
  • Possession of alprazolam for personal use unless you have a valid prescription — Health and Safety Codes 11375 (b) (2).

According to California law, you can only secure Xanax with a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. A healthcare provider must prescribe for a legitimate medical purpose, and a licensed pharmacy must fill it.

Xanax is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance. Unlike other controlled substances, Xanax has a low potential for abuse. It also has less risk of dependence than other substances in the same schedule.

Possession Of Xanax For Sale — Health & Safety Code 11375(b)(1)

It is a crime under HS 11375(b)(1) for any person to possess Xanax intending to sell it. Under this statute, it is a crime for you to possess a controlled substance categorized under Schedule IV with the intent to sell it. The activities that could violate this statute include:

  • Participating in activities that show your intention to sell, like packaging the drug for distribution or packaging drugs in smaller portions.
  • Possessing a substantial amount of the drugs in a way consistent with sales. Possessing large amounts of a controlled substance indicates that the substance is not for personal use.

If the prosecutor accuses you of possessing Xanax for sale, he/she must prove the following elements:

  • You possessed Xanax — the prosecutor must prove if it was actual or constructive possession.
  • You intended to sell the drug —the prosecutor must prove to the jury that you did not just possess the drug for personal use but also intended to sell it. The prosecutor could conclude that you intended to sell Xanax based on the amount, how you packaged it, and your statements or actions.
  • You were aware that you possessed the controlled substance.
  • The drug was in a usable amount.

Possession Of Xanax For Personal Use — Health & Safety Code 11375(b)(2)

It is an offense under HS 11375(b)(2) for you to possess Xanax without a lawful prescription. Under this law, possessing any controlled substance classified under Schedule IV is a crime unless you secure the drug directly from a practitioner. If the prosecutor accuses you of violating HS 11375(b)(2), he/she must prove the following elements:

  • You possessed the drug —The prosecutor must prove whether it was actual or constructive possession. In this case, you could have physical control of the drug or the power and intention to control it.
  • You were aware you possessed a controlled substance. The prosecutor can infer your knowledge from the circumstances of the case and your actions.
  • The drug was a controlled substance — In this case, the prosecutor must prove that the drug you possessed was Xanax, a Schedule IV controlled substance. This must involve laboratory testing and analysis to confirm the identity and presence of the drug.

The Methods That Law Enforcement Employ To Investigate Drug Offenses Involving Xanax

Law enforcement could use several methods to investigate drug offenses involving Xanax. Some of the methods include:

Analysis Of Physical Evidence

Law enforcement could analyze physical evidence like drug residue or packaging to determine the type and amount of drugs involved or link you with the drugs.

Confidential Informants

Confidential informants could be used to collect information regarding drug trafficking and making purchases of controlled drugs.

Search And Seizures

The police could search your vehicle, home, or other property to gather evidence of drug sales or possession.

Wiretaps And Electronic Surveillance

Law enforcement could use wiretaps and other forms of electronic surveillance, like cell phone monitoring or GPS tracking, to gather evidence of drug transactions.

Undercover Operations

Law enforcement could use undercover officers to buy Xanax from you to collect evidence of the drug sale.

Penalties For Violation of HS 11375(b) (1) And HS 11375 (b) (2)

According to HS 11375 (b) (1), unlawful possession of Xanax for sale is a wobbler offense. If you are guilty of misdemeanor possession of Xanax for sale, you could face a jail term that does not exceed one year in a county jail.

Under HS 11375 (b) (1), you could face felony charges for possessing Xanax for sale without a valid license. The penalties you could face include:

  • A fine that does not exceed $20,000.
  • A jail term of two, three, or four years in a state prison.

You could face misdemeanor charges under HS 11375 (b) (2) if you possess Xanax for personal use. The length of your jail term will depend on several factors, including your criminal record, arrests, prior history of substance abuse, the amount of Xanax possessed, and your age. Depending on the above factors, you could face a jail term that does not exceed one year in a county jail.

Alternative Penalties For Possessing Xanax For Sale Under HS 11375 (b) (1)

The alternative penalties you could face if you are convicted of possession with intent to sell Xanax include:

Probation Instead Of Jail Time

If the judge convicts you of any drug crime, he/she could impose probation as an alternative sentence. Generally, probation involves a supervision period by a probation officer. While on probation, you must adhere to the set probation conditions. Some of the conditions of probation the judge can order you to adhere to include mandatory drug treatment, community service, and drug testing.

Reduced Sentence

Sometimes, you could qualify for a reduced sentence, including a reduced fine or a shorter imprisonment period. Your sentence could be reduced depending on mitigating factors or your cooperation with the prosecution.

Deferred Entry Of Judgment (DEJ) Program

The DEJ program is a sentencing option that permits some offenders facing drug charges to avoid a conviction by completing a drug treatment program. Your charges will be dismissed, and you will not have a criminal conviction once you complete the program and fulfill any other conditions like paying fines. However, you will be convicted if you fail to complete the program or violate any conditions.

Not all individuals facing drug charges can access the DEJ program. You could qualify for this program based on facts of your case, like your criminal record and other factors. You can consult a competent criminal defense attorney to guide you through available sentencing alternatives and work to negotiate the best results in your case.

Defenses To Drug Crimes Involving Xanax

You can raise several defenses to fight the charges involving Xanax. Some of the defenses include:

Illegal Search And Seizure

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. A search can only be legal if it is based on probable cause and carried out with a warrant or consent from the suspect.

At times, the police could search without probable cause or warrant, or they could exceed the scope of a warrant. If this happens, the evidence obtained through illegal search and seizure will be inadmissible in your case under the exclusionary rule. The judge could drop your case if the illegally-acquired evidence was essential to the prosecution's case.

You Are A Victim of Police Entrapment

You can use this defense to claim that the government agents or police lured or induced you into committing the offense the prosecutor accused you of. You must prove that you were not predisposed to commit the offense. You could claim that police used harassment or coercion to lure you into committing the crime. The prosecutor must also prove you were not induced to commit the crime. This defense strategy is complicated, and the results depend on the specific circumstances of each case. Your case could be dismissed if you convince the jury or the judge of your innocence.

You Had No Knowledge

The popular defense in drug offenses involving Xanax is lack of intent or knowledge. This defense is only valid if you had no intention of using the drug or had no knowledge that you possessed Xanax. For example, you could raise this defense if Xanax was planted on you or in your vehicle without your knowledge. However, the burden of proof lies with you, and you must provide enough evidence to support your allegations.

You Had A Valid Prescription

You can avoid facing charges if you provide sufficient evidence showing that you secured the drug lawfully with a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. However, you must provide evidence that you did not intend to distribute or sell the drug unlawfully. You must also prove that the prescription was valid and compliant with the law.

Frequently Asked Questions About Crimes Related To Xanax

Here are the commonly asked questions regarding offenses related to Xanax:

Could I Still Face Possession Charges If The Drug Is Found In My Vehicle But Not In My Person?

Yes, you could face possession charges because, under California law, there are three types of possession. The possession can be actual, constructive, or joint possession. If you have Xanax pills on your person, you are deemed to be in actual possession of the drug. This includes the drug being in a purse or a backpack that you are carrying.

You could be in constructive possession if the drugs are in an area you control, like your bedroom or car. In this case, you are not required to touch or hold the drug to be guilty of possession. You could face possession charges if the police find the drugs in your house, vehicle, or any place you exercise control.

Find a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

Allegations of possessing Xanax or possessing Xanax for sale are serious. There is a high risk of facing long-term repercussions if found guilty. If you face charges for selling, possessing for sale, or possessing Xanax, you will have a hard and lengthy legal battle ahead of you. Therefore, you need to seek the services of an experienced attorney to help you challenge the charges. At the Foos Gavin Law Firm, we have experienced attorneys who can assist you in fighting your charges. We have the necessary knowledge and skills acquired over decades of successfully defending clients facing drug charges. Contact us at 916-779-3500 to speak to one of our Sacramento attorneys.