Sale of a Controlled Substance Possession Definition and Aspects:
Possession of an illegal substance is already a violation that could result in a felony charge, and the consequences only escalate if the person has the intent to sell. Under California Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC, possession for sale of a controlled substance is its own felony and can lead to severe penalties. If convicted, the punishment consists of up to four years in county jail and a fine up to $20,000.
For you to be prosecuted for the sale of a controlled substance possession, prosecutors must prove the following:
- Possession of a controlled substance
- The Defendant was aware the substance was present
- The Defendant knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance
- At the time of possession, the Defendant had the intention of selling the substance
- The controlled substance was a usable amount
Selling, under the law, is defined as exchanging the substance for services, money, or anything of value.
Example of Drugs Considered Controlled Substances:
Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11351 HSC, the below list is defined as controlled substances:
- Prescription painkillers (without a valid prescription)
- Other hallucinogens
Examples of Evidence to Prove Possession for Sale:
To prove possession for sale, prosecutors often use circumstantial evidence. Example of such evidence can include, but not limited to the following:
- Large quantities of a controlled substance in possession of the Defendant
- The discovery of scales and packaging materials
- The presence of a large amount of cash
- Trace or evidence of frequent drug transactions
Someone can violate this statute whether they have physical possession or constructive possession of a controlled substance. Constructive possession simply means that the drugs were not found in immediate access of the Defendant, but rather in a place he/she has control over. For example, a safe, a drawer, or a closet.
Criminal Offenses Related to Possession for Sale of Controlled Substances:
Similar or related criminal offenses include:
- Possession of a Controlled Substance – California Health & Safety Code Section 11350 HSC
- Possession, Sales and Transportation of Methamphetamines – California Health & Safety Code Section 11377, 11378 and 11379 HSC
- Sales and Transportation of Controlled Substances – California Health & Safety Code Section 11352 HSC
Example of Possession for Sale:
The police knock on a man’s door with a search warrant. During the search, large amounts of heroin are discovered. In the man’s kitchen, the authorities also find scales and clear plastic bags. Despite there being no definite evidence of substance sales, the man could be prosecuted for possession for sale, because the items found correlated with drug sales. Under California Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC, the man could face severe consequences, including serious fines and even jail time.
Defenses to Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance:
If the possession was momentary and for the purpose of safely disposing of the substance, the Defendant would not be liable for drug possession. This defense in detailed in another article: ‘California Health and Safety Code Section 11350 HSC: Possession of a Controlled Substance’.
Another defense for possession questions the legality of the search or seizure that resulted in the substance being discovered. If the Defendant can prove the search or seizure was illegal and not supported by a probable cause, the drugs may be suppressed. In this example, the case would have to be dismissed by the Judge.
If the intent for sale of the controlled substance is not present, the Defendant could not be charged under this statute. In this scenario, the Defendant would only be prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance, under California Health & Safety Code Section 11350 HSC.
Finally, if the Defendant was not aware of a controlled substance being present, he/she should be acquitted of the charge.
Consequences and Penalty for Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance:
Possession for sale is a felony-level offense that can result in a prison sentence for up to four years if convicted. If the drug confiscated is cocaine-based, the maximum prison sentence can increase to up to five years in prison.
The weight of the controlled substance also establishes the amount of prison time that can be charged. The Defendant could face increased sentences in the following circumstances:
- An additional three years for more than one kilogram of the illegal substance
- An additional five years for over two kilograms
- An additional ten years for over ten kilograms
- An additional 15 years for more than 20 kilograms
- An additional 20 years for more than 40 kilograms
- An additional 25 years for more than 80 kilograms
Possession, and possession for sale of a controlled substance, under California Health and Safety Code Section 11351 HSC, is a felony level offense that can result in long-lasting consequences, including prison. It is imperative that if you are charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
For an experienced attorney in your corner, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance (California Health and Safety Code Section 11351 HSC). Book a free consultation today.