Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

I was cited and released Feb. 8,;2012 for possession of a hypodermic needle in Fullerton, CA. I was recently told that a new law was passed stating that it is now legal to possess a hypodermic needle in Orange County, CA. Is this true?

Asked on 3/02/12, 3:08 am

4 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Possession of hypodermic needles is banned by state law. No county or city has the authority to allow what the state forbids.

Even if Orange County could allow people to possess hypodermic needles, and even if it chose to do so, that rule would only apply in unincorporated county land -- in other words, land that is not part of a city, town, etc. Fullerton is a city in its own right.

(Of course, it is legal to have needles if they were prescribed by a physician or under other limited circumstances.)

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Answered on 3/02/12, 10:11 am

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

You have been misinformed of the law. Paraphernalia is illegal under both federal and state law.

Of course you can fight the criminal charges. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or confession be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all appropriate defenses with whatever witnesses, evidence and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or for trial. While this isn't a 'capital case', you certainly face potential jail and fines, so handle it right. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion program, reduction, or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.

If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Iíll be happy to help, using whatever defenses there may be.

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Answered on 3/02/12, 1:32 pm
Joe Dane Law Office of Joe Dane

The state law did recently change, but not to allow possession. The only change was the numbe you could legally possess if prescribed by a physician.

Orange County does not have a local law that allows possession of needles/syringes beyond the state law.

Depending on the facts and yiur record (if any) you may be eligible for a program or diversion of some sort to avoid a conviction.

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Answered on 3/03/12, 12:20 pm

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