Drug Sales Law - Health and Safety Code 11351 HS
Drug possession with intent to sell is covered under California Health and Safety Code 11351. This Health & Safety Code Section controls people who are selling drugs – whether it be cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin – any of the drugs listed as illegal drugs.
To prove that somebody is guilty of possession for sales of a controlled substance, the defendant has to possess it with the intent to sell it, know that they have it, know that whatever they have is illegal to possess and understand its nature and character, ad it has to be a usable amount, meaning there's going to have to be enough of it there for them to confirm that it's an illegal substance.
This possession for sale or sale cases are severe cases because just the sale of narcotics is terrible enough. 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 to support their drug habit. They get violent. They use weapons. They're breaking into people's houses. They're going into business and taking people's things, so the authorities in Los Angeles County, in particular, are looking to stomp out the possession and the sales of narcotics because of the harmful impact that it has on society – not just on the people who are using – but also from the people who are being impacted by the violent behavior of these people who are so desperate that they have to get their hands on drugs.
Legal Defenses for Drug Possession with Intent to Sell
Well, indeed, there are several 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 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 undoubted, 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.
That's not going to fly if they don't have probable cause 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 vehicle. If you don't provide them with consent and they don't have probable cause, then anything they find in there will 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 contract, they're not going to come into the home unless they can show some emergency circumstances.
Another big defense is to look at the facts of the case. How do they know you intend to sell what you possess versus your personal use? They're going to have to get “pays and owes” to show that you're keeping track of selling to other people.
They'll need some text messages where people ask for drugs, and you're getting it to them. They're going to need to find baggies and different things associated with people who sell narcotics. The judge and potential jury will look at the amount of drugs.
If you have a minimal amount, how will they figure out that you were selling it versus singing it for your personal use? Also, do you have cash on hand? That's another big thing. People selling drugs usually have large sums of money in different denominations to connote that they're selling drugs versus somebody who has no cash or a minimal amount of money.
Lastly, did they observe any sales? How will the person be held accountable for selling if they don't see any deals? 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 San Fernando Valley courts. I've been doing it for twenty-five years.
I know exactly what needs to be done to have a successful outcome, and that's what you're going to need if you want to be successful in a drug case.
Contact a Criminal Lawyer for Help
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 set 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 Health and Safety Code 11377, typically set in the methamphetamine cases. In some cases involving large quantities, you might be facing drug trafficking charges.
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 seriously about what's needed to either defend the case at a jury trial level or show some mitigating circumstances related to you so that we can get you the best resolution. A San Fernando Valley drug crime attorney at our law firm will protect your record, your right, your job, your future, and of course, your freedom.