Obscure misdemeanor “Being in a drug area”

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Recently had a client charged with an unusual crime, to wit: Being in a drug area.  Had to actually look it up in the California penal code, and it looks like a classic example of legislative overreach.

In the usual enthusiasm to maximize crime and punishment someone clearly thought it would be much easier if just being around people using drugs was a crime rather than having to do all that tedious sorting out as to who’s drugs are whose and who might just be an innocent bystander.

But when you read the code section it’s clear this was scaled back to mean a more ordinary sort of crime.  That is if someone was aiding or abetting drug use, than that is punishable as a misdemeanor.  Still difficult to prove, especially in case that’s older than a year or two as was my clients.

In my clients case they offered a deal after I set it for trial where if my client makes a donation to the victim witness program the case will be dismissed.  Still it would have been an interesting trial as to what may or may not be assisting in drug use such as to be breaking this obscure law to twelve members of a jury.

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