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California Date Rape Drug Laws That Took Effect as of January 1, 2017

Posted by Dan Kann | Jan 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

In 2014, California voters approved Proposition 47[1] which changed the possession of non-serious drugs from felonies to misdemeanors. That created the inadvertent effect of allowing date rape drugs, possessed for the purpose of committing sexual assault, to be charged and prosecuted as misdemeanors. 

In 2016, Senator Cathleen Galgiani introduced Senate Bill 1182[2] in order to require the possession of drugs such as ketamine, GHB, and flunitrazepam to be charged as a felony when they are possessed in order to commit a sexual assault such as rape, sodomy, or oral copulation. The Bill passed the California Legislature in August of 2016 and Governor Jerry Brown allowed it to become law without his signature, taking effect on January 1, 2017.

Felony Charges for Date Rape Drug Possession

California Health and Safety Code § 11350[3] already makes it a crime to possess a controlled substance such as gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), an odorless, colorless chemical that depresses the central nervous system. Because of its effect on the brain, one form of GHB can be prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy, although it is illegal to possess GHB without a valid prescription under California Health and Safety Code §11377[4]. Both sections are usually charged as a misdemeanor with a possible sentence of up to one year in county jail. The difference between the two can be in the fines imposed with Section 11350 resulting in a maximum fine of $20,000.00 dollars while Section 11377 has a maximum fine of only $1,000.00 dollars.

Based on Senate Bill 1182, in addition to possession of a controlled substance and possession without a valid prescription, as of January 1st, if you possess these controlled substances with the intent to commit sexual assault[5], you can also be charged with a felony under Health and Safety Code Sections 11350.5 and 11377.5, resulting in a possible sentence of imprisonment in the county jail for a period of sixteen months, 2 years or 3 years.  If you are charged with possession of a drug such as GHB, whether or not you intended to commit a sexual assault, it is critical to contact a defense attorney who is experienced in handling date rape drug crimes soon as possible. The consequences for these crimes are serious and you need a good defense lawyer on your side at every step of the court proceedings.

California Date Rape

The drugs GHB, ketamine, and flunitrazepam are commonly referred to as “date rape” drugs.  While the average citizen may think of “date rape” as a sexual assault that occurs with individuals who are voluntarily spending time together regardless of gender, the crimes or rape and date rape are treated equally under the term of the California Penal Code Section 261. 

Effective September 2016, Governor Jerry Brown expanded the legal definition of rape to allow for mandatory minimum sentences for sexual assault offenders. The new law, which also takes effect January 1, 2017, prohibits the court from awarding probation to a convicted sex assault offender when the victim was intoxicated or unconscious. These cases are charged as felonies and can result in sentences including:

  • 3, 6, or 8 years in state prison
  • Additional 3 or 5 years if the victim sustained bodily injury
  • Fine up to $10,000.00 dollars
  • Additional 7, 9, or 11 years if the victim was under the age of 18
  • Additional 9, 11, or 13 years if the victim was under the age of 14.

Contact an Experienced Santa Clarita and Ventura Date Rape Drug Defense Attorneys

If a loved one is being investigated or has been arrested for possession of a date rape drug, they need an attorney who is familiar with the types of drugs involved and the penalties that can be imposed pursuant to a conviction. Contact the experienced Santa Clarita and Ventura criminal defense attorneys at the Kann California Defense Group today for a free consultation. Call our toll-free number 888-744-7730 or use our website's contact form today.

References

[1] California Proposition 47

[2] Senate Bill 1182

[3] Health and Safety Code §11350

[4] Health and Safety Code §11377

[5] Health and Safety Code §11350.5 and §11377.5

About the Author

Dan Kann

Daniel E. Kann has devoted his entire legal career exclusively to defending individuals facing criminal prosecution in Southern California. Dan fights criminal cases throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

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Kann California Defense Group

Daniel E. Kann has devoted his entire legal career exclusively to defending individuals facing criminal prosecution in Southern California. Dan fights criminal cases throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

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