California Health and Safety Code Section 11377(a)

In People v. Clark (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1041, the defendant was convicted of possession of a controlled substance under Health and Safety Code section 11377, subdivision (a), and the trial court ordered him to pay a "$500 fine plus penalty assessment." (7 Cal.App.4th at p. 1044.) The defendant contended that "because section 11377 authorizes a fine of up to $70 for anyone convicted of possessing various controlled substances, such fine is 'prescribed' by that section and no further fine can be assessed under Penal Code section 672." (Clark, p. 1045.) Division Five of this court disagreed, emphasizing that under Health and Safety Code section 11377, the $70 fine was to be imposed "in addition to any other fine imposed" for the specified offense. (Clark, p. 1046.) The Clark court also noted that the legislative history behind Health and Safety Code section 11377 showed the Legislature intended the $70 fine to be used exclusively to pay for an AIDS education program. (Clark, p. 1046.) The court concluded: "Contrary to appellant's interpretation, nothing in Assembly Bill No. 2374 suggests that the Legislature contemplated the $70 fine as a substitute for other authorized fines. Rather, the legislative history reveals that the Legislature intended to create a separate funding source through the court's discretionary imposition of the $70 fine for the establishment of AIDS education programs. The $70 fine is expressly intended to be additional to any fines the court may impose for the specified offenses. Consequently, the court's imposition of the $500 fine and penalty assessment were permissible under section 11377." (Clark, p. 1046.)