California Health and Safety Code Section 11375.5: Selling Synthetic Stimulant Compounds

synthetic compound sale1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

There has been a recent rise in the popularity of synthetic stimulant drugs. These synthetics are intended to simulate the effects of stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. These synthetics can be very dangerous and there are a number of reported cases in which the use of synthetic stimulants has resulted in medical emergencies. These substances are sometimes sold in head shops as “bath salts” or “plant food.” Selling synthetic stimulant compounds is illegal under California Health & Safety Code Section 11375.5 HSC.

To prove that a defendant is guilty of selling synthetic stimulant compounds, a prosecutor must be able to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant sold, dispensed, distributed, furnished, administered, or gave or offered to sell, dispense, distribute, furnish, administer, or give, any synthetic stimulant compound or any synthetic stimulant derivative, to any person.
  2. OR the defendant possessed any synthetic stimulant compound or any synthetic stimulant derivative for sale to any person.

Under the statute, a synthetic stimulant compound is defined as one of the following substances specifically included by the statute:

  1. Naphthylpyrovalerone whether or not further substituted in the naphthyl ring to any extent with alkyl, alkoxy, alkylenedioxy, haloalkyl, or halide substituents, whether or not further substituted in the naphthyl ring by one or more other univalent substituents, or whether or not further substituted in the carbon chain at the 3-, 4-, or 5-position with an alkyl substituent.
  2. 2-amino-1-phenyl-1-propanone (cathinone) or variation in any of the following ways:
    1. By substitution in the phenyl ring to any extent with alkyl, alkoxy, alkylenedioxy, haloalkyl, or halid substituents, whether or not further substituted in the phenyl ring by one or more other univalent substituents.
    2. By substitution at the 3-position with an alkyl substituent.
    3. By substitution at the nitrogen atom with alkyl, dialkyl, or benzyl groups, or by inclusion of the nitrogen atom in a cyclic structure.
2. Related Offenses

Similar offenses include the following:

  1. Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance - California Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC
  2. Selling Synthetic Cannabinoids - California Health & Safety Code Section 11357.5 HSC
  3. Sale or Transportation of a Controlled Substance – California Health & Safety 11352 Code Section HSC
  4. Sale of Substitute Substance – California Health & Safety Code Section 11355 HSC
3. Examples

A man owns and operates a head shop that sells synthetic stimulant compounds that are commonly labelled as “bath salts.” This man could be prosecuted for selling synthetic stimulant compounds in violation of California Health & Safety Code Section 11375.5 HSC.

In another example, the same man begins to sell a brand new stimulant substance, labelled “plant food” that is very popular with high school students. The substance is so new that is not specifically listed by statute as a prohibited synthetic stimulant. This man would not be criminally liable in this scenario because the substance sold must be specifically listed in California Health & Safety Code Section 11375.5 HSC.

4. Defenses to Selling Synthetic Stimulant Compounds

As described above, the substance sold must be specifically listed in the statute in order for the defendant to be guilty of this offense. New variations of synthetic stimulants hit the market each day, so there may be instances where the stimulant sold is not yet covered by the statute. In these cases, the defendant would not be criminally liable.

In addition, law enforcement agencies often operate sting operations using undercover officers at head shops and other businesses to catch those selling prohibited synthetic stimulants. If the undercover operative pushed the defendant into doing an illegal act that he or she would not have otherwise committed, the defendant could raise an entrapment defense.

5. Penalties

Selling synthetic stimulant compounds is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to six months in jail.

6. Criminal Defense for Selling Synthetic Stimulant Compounds

If you or someone you know have been charged with selling synthetic stimulant compounds, it is crucial that you meet with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut possesses the litigation skills and advanced legal knowledge necessary to defend those charged with crimes of this nature.

For more information about selling synthetic stimulant compounds, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer 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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