California Health and Safety Code Section 11351 HSC: Possession For Sale Of A Controlled Substance

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimecontrolled substance sale

While drug possession by itself is a felony-level offense, when a person possesses a controlled substance with the intent to sell it, he or she could be in even greater trouble. Possession for sale of a controlled substance is its own felony under California Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC that can result in severe penalties for those convicted.

In order to prove that a defendant has committed possession for sale of a controlled substance, a prosecutor must establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant possessed a controlled substance
  2. The defendant knew of its presence
  3. The defendant knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance
  4. When the defendant possessed the controlled substance, he or she intended to sell it
  5. AND the controlled substance was a usable amount

Selling means exchanging the controlled substance for money, services or anything of value.

The following drugs would be considered controlled substances for the purposes of California Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC:

  1. Heroin
  2. Cocaine
  3. Unauthorized Prescription medications
  4. Opiates
  5. Peyote
  6. LSD
  7. Other hallucinogens

Possession for sale must usually be proven with circumstantial evidence, which can include the following:

  1. Large quantities of the controlled substance discovered
  2. The presence of packaging materials and scales
  3. The presence of large amounts of cash
  4. Evidence of frequent drug transactions

A person can violate this statute if he or she had actual possession or mere constructive possession of the illicit substance. Constructive possession means that the drugs were found in a place that the person exercises control over, such as a closet or a safe.

2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Possession of a Controlled Substance - California Health & Safety Code Section 11350 HSC
  2. Possession, Sales and Transportation of Methamphetamines – California Health & Safety Code Section 11377, 11378 and 11379 HSC
  3. Sales and Transportation of Controlled Substances – California Health & Safety Code Section 11352 HSC
3. Examples

A man is at home one evening when police officers appear at his door with a search warrant. During the search, the officers discover large amounts of cocaine, scales, baggies and ledgers. Even though there may be no direct evidence of drug sales, the man could be prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance for sale in violation of California Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC because of the presence of the items associated with drug sales.

4. Defenses to Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance

If the drugs were discovered as the result of an unlawful search or seizure the defendant may be able to challenge the admissibility of the evidence for lack of probable cause. In these circumstances, a judge may suppress the evidence and the case would most likely be dismissed.

Additionally, if there was no intent to sell the narcotics, there would be no criminal liability under this statute. In these cases, the defendant could only be charged with possession of a controlled substance under California Health & Safety Code Section 11350 HSC.

5. Penalties

Possession of a controlled substance for sale is a felony that is punishable by up to four years in prison for those convicted. If the controlled substance is cocaine base, the maximum prison sentence increases to five years.

The weight of the controlled substance involved can increase the amount of prison time assessed. A defendant is subject to additional years in the following circumstance:

  1. An additional three years for more than one kilogram of the controlled substance
  2. An additional five years for over two kilograms
  3. An additional ten years for over ten kilograms
  4. An additional 15 years for more than 20 kilograms
  5. An additional 20 years for more than 40 kilograms
  6. An additional 25 years for more than 80 kilograms
6. Criminal Defense for Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance

Possession for sale of a controlled substance is a serious felony that can result in heavy prison sentences. If you or a loved one have been charged with this offense, it is critical that you speak with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who knows how to effectively defend these types of cases. Mr. Kraut is a dedicated advocate who works hard to ensure that his clients receive the best representation possible.

For more information about possession for sale of a controlled substance, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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