Drug Possession for Sales – California Health and Safety Code Section 11351
This Health & Safety Code Section basically controls people who are selling drugs – whether it be cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin – any of the drugs that are listed as illegal drugs. In order to prove that somebody is guilty of possession for sales of a controlled substance, obviously the defendant has to possess it with the intent to sell it, know that they have it, know that whatever they have is actually something that is illegal to possess and know its nature and character, ad obviously it has to be a usable amount, meaning there’s going to have to be enough of it there in order for them to confirm that it’s an illegal substance.
These possession for sale or sale cases pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 11351 are very serious cases because just the sale of narcotics is bad enough because it hurts our society from a prosecution, police and judge standpoint because people get hooked, they don’t work and they’re using drugs and then what ends up happening – and this is where the big problem comes in – they start committing other crimes. They start stealing people’s things in order to support their drug habit. They get violent. They use weapons. They’re breaking into people’s house. They’re going into business and taking people’s things, so, the authorities in Los Angeles county in particular, are really looking to stomp out the possession and the sales of narcotics because of the bad impact that it has on society – not just from the people who are using – but also from the people who are being impacted by violent behavior of these people who are so desperate that they have to get their hands on drugs.
Legal Defenses for Drug Sales
Well certainly, there are a number of defenses. If you are illegally stopped by the police and they later find drugs in your car or on your person or somewhere else, then you could use that as a defense. You can’t just stop people for no reason. They’re going to have to have a belief that there’s some sort of criminal activity afoot, and you’re going to have to be able to spell it out in a police report if you’re the police. Anther defense is certainly, an illegal search. The police stop people all the time – rough them up, search them, find drugs and then claim they’re selling the drugs. Obviously, that’s not going to fly if they don’t have probable cause to be able to stop the person and search the person. Another search issue that comes up all the time is in a car. The police are pulling cars over and the next thing you know they’re in the car searching it and looking for different things. They can’t just have a free-for-all. They have to have a lawful reason to get inside your car or you have to give them consent to get inside the car. If you don’t give them consent and they don’t have probable cause, then anything they find in there is going to be suppressed and can’t be used against you.
Another area that’s a defense is if they illegally search your home. We all have a Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. So, if the police are coming into your home and they’re searching and taking items, then they’re going to be held accountable for that. They can’t just come into somebody’s home. There are exceptions to this. They have to get a warrant. If they don’t get the warrant, then they’re not going to be able to come into the home unless they can show some sort of emergency circumstances.
Another big defense is to look at the facts of the case. How do they know that what your possessing you’re intending to sell it versus it’s your own personal use? They’re going to have to get “pays and owes” to show that you’re actually keeping track of selling to other people. They’ll need some sort of text messages where people are asking for drugs and you’re getting it to them. They’re going to need to find baggies and different things that are associated with people who sell narcotics. The judge and potential jury is going to look at the amount of drugs. If you have a very small amount, how are they going to figure out that you were selling it versus sing it for your own personal use. Also, do you have cash on hand? That’s another big thing. People who are selling drugs usually have large sums of cash in different denominations to connote that they’re selling drugs versus somebody who has no money or a very small amount of money. Lastly, did they observe any sales. If they don’t see any sales, then how is the person going to be held accountable for selling? They’re just assuming that the person is selling it. So, there are all sorts of different defenses that can be asserted in these drug cases, especially when they’re talking about possession for sales and sales in these Los Angeles courts. I’ve been doing it for twenty-five years. I know exactly what needs to be done in order to have a successful outcome and that’s what you’re going to need if you want to be successful in a drug case in LA county.
What I have you do is I have you come into the office. We sit down and go over the Code sections. What Code section did they charge you? Did they charge the 11351 of the Health and Safety Code? Did they charge 11378 of the Health and Safety Code? How about 11350 – a straight possession case, or 11377 which they typically charge in the methamphetamine cases. So, it depends on what you’re charged with. It depends on what evidence they have against you. That’s why we have to sit down and talk serious about what’s going to be needed in order to either defend the case at a jury trial level, or to show some mitigating circumstances related to you so that we can get you the best resolution. We can try to protect your record, your right, your job, your future and of course, your freedom.