Generally speaking, in California there are three sentencing ranges for each offense: lower, middle and upper. There’s a criminal sentencing chart that judges and criminal attorneys use that specify the ranges for each specific crime, and statutorily, this is the guideline that the judges have to follow. The default sentence for each crime is the middle range, while aggravating factors will push the sentence to the upper range and mitigating factors will reduce it to the lower range.

To your specific question, the amount of jail or prison time your husband faces depends on the amount of marijuana he had in his possession and whether he is being charged with its sale or simply for its possession. For simple marijuana possession of over 28.5 grams (other than concentrated cannabis), the absolute maximum sentence is up to 180 days in a county jail.For possession of less than 28.5 grams, the penalty is an infraction with a fine of up to $100. (See California Health and Safety Code section 11357(b) and (c)).)

If your husband is being charged with possession of concentrated cannabis (meaning the concentrated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from marijuana, see California Health and Safety Code section 11006.5), the maximum jail time is one year. This is a statutory maximum pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 11357(a).

If your husband is being charged with possession of marijuana for sale, the middle range for such offense is 2 years in prison, with the upper range 3 years in prison and the lower range being 1 year and 4 months. (See Health and Safety Code section 11359.) In this case, your husband’s criminal history is one of the factors that could potentially push a judge to sentence him to the upper range. However, it will depend on the severity of your husband’s first two offenses, as well as the severity of the current offense. At any rate, if convicted your attorney should either push to get the sentence reduced or have you serve alternate means of sentencing pursuant to Proposition 36, which provides probation sentencing for certain nonviolent drug offenders. Many nonviolent drug offenders get sentenced to Prop. 36, as jail and prison overcrowding has become a serious issue in California.