California has taken significant steps in legalizing the use of marijuana and dropping simple possession cases for the drug. Despite these reforms, there are many drug-related offenses that the paw seeks to punish. Under California Health and Safety Code 11352, it is a crime to sell, furnish, give away or transport a controlled substance. Due to the seriousness with which California law takes on drug-related offenses, a violation of this statute is always treated as a felony. A felony drug conviction for crimes such as transportation for the sale of a controlled substance attracts severe legal penalties. Additionally, you could face deportation or be rendered inadmissible if you are not a US citizen.

If you want to avoid the serious penalties and long-lasting consequences of a conviction under this statute, it would be wise to enlist the guidance of an experienced attorney. At Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney Law Firm, we will examine all the facts of your case and craft a strong defense to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. We serve clients seeking legal guidance and representation in Riverside, CA.

Overview of California Health and Safety Code 11352

Controlled substances have been known to fuel crime rates in California. Additionally, the effects of these drugs on the mental and overall health of the drug users can be immense. While the Stet of California has made substantial steps in legalizing substances like marijuana, there are many illegal drugs for which possession is illegal. 

One of the most serious drug charges you can face under California law is the transportation for the sale of a controlled substance. You commit a crime under HS Code 11352 by engaging in any of the following conduct:

  • Selling illegal drugs
  • Transporting a controlled substance with an intent to distribute or sell
  • Giving away controlled substances
  • Administering illegal drugs to other people
  • Attempting to engage in any of the above conduct

Before you face a conviction for transportation for sale of a controlled substance in California, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

You Sold, Administered, imported, or Transported a Controlled Substance.

California HS 11352 aims to punish individuals who engage in the trafficking of illegal drugs and transactions of moving the substances from one place to another. Transportation of drugs could either be on foot across the street or in vehicles across the state borders. Additionally, the prosecution must prove that you sold or intend to sell the drugs. Since furnishing or administering an illegal substance is also a crime, proof that you made some profit from your actions is not necessary.

Some of the drugs whose transport, sale, or administration could result in criminal charges under this statute include:

  • Opiates and their derivatives
  • Peyote
  • Cocaine
  • Heroine

Further, you could face an arrest and charges for transportation to sell a controlled substance for transporting or dealing with some commonly abused prescription drugs such as Xanax, Vicodin, or Oxytocin.

It is vital to understand that you can be guilty of trafficking a controlled substance even when you did not contact the drug. In most drug crimes in California, possession means physical contact and control of the illegal substance.

You Knew of the Drug's Presence

You cannot be guilty of drug transportation for sale unless the prosecution proves that you knew of the presence of the drug, for example. If you find a bag in the house you just bought and decided to sell it without the knowledge that there was cocaine in it, you could be arrested for suspicion of transportation of drugs. In such a case, you could argue about your lack of knowledge of the presence of the drug.

You Knew the Character and Nurture of the Controlled Substance

Sometimes, you control or possess something, but you do not understand its nature. When you do not understand that a particular substance is an illegal drug, it would be impossible for you to form an intent to transport it to sell.

The Controlled Substance in Question was in a Usable Amount

Before securing a conviction for this crime, the prosecutor must prove that the amount of the controlled substance was usable. Having a bag with trace amounts of illegal drugs cannot fit the definition of transportation for the sale of the drug.

Investigations for the prosecution of drug crimes such as transport for the sale of an illegal substance involve thorough and routine operations aimed at catching individuals who engage in criminal activities. Since California law is serious about the distribution and sale of drugs, information from a confidential informant could trigger the police to search for your home, especially when you are a convicted felon.

Another way through which the police officers could gather evidence on drug transportation is through surveillance and undercover buys. Proving all the elements of the crime for this statute can be challenging for the prosecutor, especially when you have a skilled attorney to find fault in every piece of information presented against you.

Penalties for Transportation for Sale of a Controlled Substance

Transportation for the sale of a controlled substance is always charged as a felony in California. A conviction for the offense attracts the following penalties:

  • A three to five years jail sentence under the realignment program and up to nine years if you transported the drug within two or more state lines
  • Fines that do not exceed $20,000
  • Formal probation

If you face a felony conviction, formal probation is a sentence imposed as an alternative to prison time. However, it is important to understand that you will not be eligible for formal probation if:

  • You face a conviction for violating HS 11352 for offering or selling 14.25 or more of a substance that contains a heroine.
  • You are found guilty of selling or offering cocaine, and you have a prior conviction for a drug-related offense.

In addition to the above penalties, some scenarios could aggravate your sentence, including:

1. Transportation or Sales of Large Quantities of Cocaine or Heroine

If you face a conviction under HS Code 11352 and the drug in question was cocaine or heroin, you risk facing an additional jail sentence of:

  • Up to three years for drugs weighing one kilogram or more
  • Up to five years for drugs exceeding four kilograms
  • Ten years for drugs weighing up to ten kilograms
  • Fifteen years for twenty kilograms of the drug
  • Twenty years for forty kilograms of the drug

2. Prior Conviction

Being a repeat offender may indicate your lack of regard for the law and inability to rehabilitate. Therefore, if you have a prior felony conviction for a drug crime, you could face an additional jail sentence of three years.

3. Furnishing or Selling Drugs to Particular People

During your conviction for transport for sale of a controlled drug, the court will impose a harsher sentence if you knew or should have known that the person to whom you were selling the drugs was:

  • Pregnant
  • Undergoing treatment for drug problems or a mental disorder
  • Previously convicted for a violent felony

4. Sale of Drugs near a Drug Treatment Facility

You could face a one-year additional jail sentence after a conviction under HS Code 11352 if the controlled substance was heroin or cocaine and the trafficking took place within 1,000 feet of a drug treatment facility. 

Additional Consequences of a Drug Sales or Transportation Conviction in California

In addition to the legal penalties that accompany a conviction under HS Code 11352, you could suffer additional consequences which last long after you have served your prison sentence, and they include:

  1. Future penalty enhancements. If you face a conviction for transport to sell a controlled drug, you will have a permanent criminal record. If you commit a crime in the future, the prosecution could look into your past and use the felony conviction to enhance the punishment for subsequent offenses. 
  2. Challenge securing employment. Your potential employer will carry out a background check on you. Having a drug-related felony conviction could be detrimental to your efforts to secure meaningful employment.
  3. Professional licenses. If you are in a profession that requires a license from the state board, such as medicine, law, pharmacy, or nursing, a felony drug conviction could result in a suspension or revocation of your license. Additionally, the licensing board will check your background before allowing you to secure a first-time license or renew an existing one.
  4. Immigration consequences. If you are an immigrant, a conviction for drug transportation and sales will deem your chances of receiving a visa or Greencard. Additionally, you could be deported or be rendered inadmissible in the United States.
  5. College applications. If you are applying for a college degree or already in college, you may not receive federal financial aid owing to your felony drug conviction.
  6. Child custody. During custody battles, the family court will check your background to determine whether or not you are fit to be a custodial parent. If you have a drug-related conviction on your record, the court could use this as a basis to deny you child custody.
  7. Loss of gun rights. Losing your right to own, purchase or use a firearm is one of the consequences of a felony conviction. Transportation for the sale of a controlled substance is always charged as a felony, and thus you will be banned from gun ownership for at least ten years.

Defenses against HS Code 11352 Charges

The crime of transporting a controlled substance for sale is very serious. However, the offense is defensible, and your case will not always end in a conviction. Law enforcement makes mistakes, and prosecutors may be compelled to move the case forward with little evidence. The following are some of the defenses you can present for this crime:

Illegal Search and Seizure

Many arrests for drug transportation or sale arise as a result of illegal searches such as:

  • Officers searching your property without a valid search warrant
  • Having a search warrant but exceeding the scope of the search 
  • Detaining you without a probable cause

If any of the evidence in your case was obtained from an illegal search or seizure, it could not be used to secure a conviction.

Lack of Knowledge

One of the requirements that the prosecution must prove when establishing your guilt under this statute is that you knew of the presence of the drug. If your knowledge of the drug's presence and the nature of the substance is not clear, you cannot be convicted for the offense.

Police Misconduct

Some of the examples of police misconduct in the transportation or sale of drugs include:

  • Planting evidence in your vehicle or home before arresting you
  • Lying at the location where they discovered the drugs
  • Falsification of a probable cause that leads to your arrest
  • Coerced confessions

Police Entrapment

You could employ the entrapment defense in your case if you violated the Health and Safety Code 11352 due to coercion from the police. Such situations arise when the police use their authority to force an innocent person to commit a crime. However, you must be able to prove that the police did more than suggest. Their actions must have been to a level where it would have been impossible to decline without fear of a negative consequence.

Offenses Related to Health and Safety Code 11352

Transportation for the sale of a controlled substance is a serious offense. Many other crimes are related to the offense and could be charged together with or instead of this crime, including:

Possession of Drugs with an Intent to Sell

Under California Health and Safety Code 11351, it is a crime to be in possession or control of an illegal substance to sell. If n you face charges for transportation for the sale of a controlled substance and the prosecution lacks enough evidence to prove that you moved the drugs, you could be charged with HS Code 11351 instead of HS Code 11352.

Before you face a conviction under this statute, the following elements of the crime must be cleared:

  1. You possess a controlled substance. Possession under this statute could be actual or constructive. Actual possession means that the drug is found within your reach, while constructive possession means that you were in a position to control the substance.
  2. You knew of the presence of the drug. You are only guilty of transportation for the sale of a controlled substance if you knew that you had possession or control of the drug. Additionally, you must have known about the nature of the substance and its ability to be used as a drug.
  3. You intended to sell the controlled substance. To complete the crime of possession of a controlled substance for sale, your intention to sell the substance must be clear. Failure to prove that you intended to sell the drug means you can only be convicted of simple possession, a less serious offense.
  4. The controlled substance was in a usable amount. A usable amount of a drug is any quantity large enough to be used as a controlled substance. Useless drug traces cannot suffice under this statute.

Violation of Health and Safety Code 11351 is charged as a felony. A conviction for the offense is punishable by a prison sentence of two to four years. Alternatively, you could serve part of your prison sentence and spend the rest on formal probation.

Selling or Transportation of Marijuana

While California has legalized possession of marijuana for adults, there is a variety of marijuana-related behavior that could attract severe criminal charges. If you face charges for transportation to sell a controlled substance and the substance is determined to be marijuana, you will be charged under this statute. Under California HSC 11360, it is a crime to engage in any of the following activities:

  • Give away marijuana
  • Sell marijuana
  • Import marijuana to California
  • Transport the substance to sell it

It is important to understand the laws of transport and sale of marijuana cover the actual drug and its other concentrates and edibles. A prosecutor will convict you for transportation and sale of marijuana if they can prove that:

  • You furnished, imported, sold, or distributed marijuana
  • You knew the drug's presence and its nature as a controlled substance

Most HSC 11360 charges are filed as a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum of six months in county jail and $500 in fines. However, some circumstances could cause the prosecutor to charge you with a felony, including:

  • An attempt to sell the substance to an individual under eighteen years
  • Import or export 28.5 grams or more of the substance
  • Having prior convictions for drug-related offenses

A felony conviction under this statute is punishable by up to three years in state prison and fines not exceeding $10,000.

Possession of a Controlled Substance

California HSC 11350(a) makes it a crime to possess a controlled substance without a valid prescription. A controlled substance, in this case, could constitute both illegal drugs and commonly abused prescription medications. If you face charges for transportation for the sale of a controlled substance bad and the evidence of transport or intent to sell is not clear, you could be charged for simple possession under this statute.

The elements of a crime under this statute include:

  • You unlawfully possessed a controlled substance
  • You knew of the drug's presence and its nature 
  • The substance was in a usable amount

Possession of a controlled substance is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail or misdemeanor probation.

Possession of Meth for Sale

The serious crime of possession of Meth for sale is charged under Health and Safety Code 11378. Under this statute, the prosecution must prove these elements before a conviction:

  • You owned Meth
  • You knew of its presence
  • The amount of Meth you possess was enough for consumption
  • You intended to sell the substance

Possession of methamphetamine with an intention to sell is a felony. If your case ends in a conviction, you face a minimum prison sentence of sixteen months, formal probation, and $10,000 in fines.

Manufacture of a Controlled Substance

HS Code 11379.6 seeks to punish any individual involved in the manufacture of an illegal controlled substance. If you transport for sale of a controlled substance and the prosecutor proves that you were involved in the manufacture of the drug, you could face charges for both manufacturing and transporting it. Some of the conduct that could attract charges under this statute include involvement in mixing chemicals to make narcotics or owning a meth lab.

If the prosecutor can prove that:

  • You manufactured, produced, or were involved in processing a controlled substance
  • You knew that the substance was illegal in California
  • You offered to manufacture the illegal drug
  • You had an intention to go through with the production when you accepted the offer

Like HSC 11352, the manufacture of a controlled substance is a felony. A conviction for the offense may result in up to seven years in California state prison and a fine of $50,000. If you manufactured a drug in a building inhabited by a minor under sixteen years, you could face additional prison time.

Find a Competent Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

When you think of transporting illegal drugs for sale, most people imagine the large-scale trafficking operations carried out by seasoned drug dealers. However, under California Health and Safety Code 11352, you could face arrest and criminal charges for transportation for the sale of a controlled substance for simply walking across a street while in possession of a controlled substance.

While possessing a controlled substance for personal use is viewed as a simple infraction, transporting these substances with an intention to sell could attract serious charges. If you are found guilty of Violating HS Code 11352, you will be looking at a serious felony conviction, resulting in a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines. Additionally, having a drug-related conviction on your record will significantly impact your life. 

Charges for transportation for the sale of a controlled substance should not be taken lightly, and you should navigate the case with the guidance of a skilled attorney. At Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney Law Firm, we offer top-notch legal guidance and representation for all our clients facing drug-related charges in Riverside, CA. Call us today at 951-946-6366.