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Penal Code 4573: Bringing Controlled Substance Into Jail Laws in California

PC 4573: Bringing Controlled Substance Into Jail

Legal Definition: “(a) Except when otherwise authorized by law, or when authorized by the person in charge of the prison or other institution referred to in this section or by an officer of the institution empowered by the person in charge of the institution to give the authorization, any person, who knowingly brings or sends into, or knowingly assists in bringing into, or sending into, any state prison, prison road camp, prison forestry camp, or other prison camp or prison farm or any other place where prisoners of the state are located under the custody of prison officials, officers or employees, or into any county, city and county, or city jail, road camp, farm or other place where prisoners or inmates are located under custody of any sheriff, chief of police, peace officer, probation officer or employees, or within the grounds belonging to the institution, any controlled substance, the possession of which is prohibited by Division 10 (commencing with Section 11000) of the Health and Safety Code , any device, contrivance, instrument, or paraphernalia intended to be used for unlawfully injecting or consuming a controlled substance, is guilty…”

To be found guilty under PC 4573 the prosecution must prove that you intentionally:

  1. You unlawfully possessing a controlled substance in a Penal Institution;
  2. You knew of the substance’s presence and was a usable amount;


  1. You knew that the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance.

What does this mean?

A usable amount is a quantity that is enough to be used by someone as a controlled substance. A Penal Institution is a state prison, county jail, or prison camp, among others. This usually applies to a person who is arrested for a crime, and upon going into jail, they are also carrying a controlled substance. A controlled substance can be things such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin, which are some of the more common ones. Additionally, a person already serving a sentence can be caught while in custody already if they were to obtain a controlled substance during their stay.  This is a new offense, so if, for example, you are arrested for a simple DUI offense, but also bring into the jail within your pockets some methamphetamine, then you could add a new felony charge to the current case you are fighting.


A conviction under PC 4573 is a felony offense. This means you can never reduce a conviction under this section to a misdemeanor. A conviction here means a felony conviction every time. A conviction under this section can send you to State Prison for upwards of 2, 3, or 4 years. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Court since this offense is a crime of moral turpitude and an aggravated felony.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence

You can only be convicted under this section if you knowingly bring the controlled substances into jail. In other words, not knowing you have drugs in your possession, works as a defense to this charge. Failing to show your knowledge that the controlled substances were with you upon entering the jail, would mean there is insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of the crime.

Another issue could be a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. This is commonly attacked in California under PC 1538.5, which is a motion filed and argued in CourtLet’s say you are arrested for a DUI, but the DUI stop that leads to your arrest was unlawful. Maybe you did not commit a traffic violation, or that you passed the FSTs with police and therefore should not have been arrested. An illegal arrest would mean that the second charge of bringing the drugs into the court, would also be dismissed or suppressed. Your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney can therefore argue that the police violated your rights, and can argue to have the evidence suppressed, which most often can lead to a dismissal of your case.

Call Today

Facing charges under PC 4573, which pertains to bringing drugs or alcohol into a jail or prison facility, can lead to severe consequences that ripple through every aspect of your life. Such a conviction not only risks imprisonment but also has profound implications for your future employment, immigration status, and constitutional rights, including a permanent forfeiture of your Second Amendment rights to own or possess firearms.

Given the gravity of these charges and their classification as felony-only offenses, it’s imperative to seek experienced and effective legal representation. At Inland Empire Defense, our Ontario-based PC 4573 attorney has a track record of successfully defending individuals throughout the Inland Empire against a variety of criminal charges, including those under PC 4573.

Why Choose Inland Empire Defense for PC 4573 Defense?

  • Specialized Expertise: Our attorney brings specialized knowledge and experience in handling PC 4573 charges, ensuring that your defense is grounded in a deep understanding of the law and tailored to the unique nuances of your case.
  • Proven Defense Record: Our history of successfully defending clients against criminal charges speaks to our ability to navigate the complexities of the legal system and secure favorable outcomes.
  • Comprehensive Legal Support: Recognizing the potential impacts of a PC 4573 charge, we offer unwavering support and availability to address your concerns and guide you through the legal process.

Protect Your Future with Inland Empire Defense

The implications of a PC 4573 charge underscore the importance of securing a knowledgeable and determined legal defense. Inland Empire Defense, located in Ontario, CA, is prepared to offer the expert legal support necessary to confront these charges effectively.

Contact Inland Empire Defense Today

If you or a loved one is facing charges under PC 4573, don’t delay in seeking the legal expertise you need. Contact Inland Empire Defense at 909-939-7126 for expert legal guidance and representation. Our commitment to defending your rights and securing the best possible outcome is your advantage in navigating this challenging time. Let us be your advocate and ally in protecting your future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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