Health and Safety Code 11377, 11378, 11379
Possession, Sale of Methamphetamines
Possession, Sale of Methamphetamines in California
Methamphetamine is a drug comprised of many different chemical compounds. The drug typically used is the crystalline form of these compounds.
Possessing and selling methamphetamines are two distinct crimes under the Health and Safety Code in California. Sections 11377, 11378, and 11379 govern these actions. These code sections make it illegal not only to possess or sell meth, but also for possessing with the intent to sell the drug, transporting the drug, and administering the drug.
The penalty for conviction of possessing meth can vary. It is a wobbler offense, so the prosecutor can choose to charge it as a felony or a misdemeanor. This usually depends on how egregious the offense is, your criminal history, and any number of surrounding circumstances.
Misdemeanor convictions consist of a $1,000 fine, up to a year in a jail, and usually three years of informal probation, meaning you must not break any laws in those three years.
A felony conviction, on the other hand, can result in a year and a half (up to three years) in prison, at least three years of formal probation with a probation officer regularly checking up on you, and a much larger fine.
If you are charged with having the intent to sell the drug, in addition to possession, you will be charged with a felony.
Finally, charges of selling or administering meth are felony charges, as well.
Prosecuting the Possession and Sale of Methamphetamines
In order to be convicted of possessing meth, the prosecutor must prove:
- You possessed or controlled or administered a controlled substance (meth);
- Your possession of the drug was unlawful;
- You knew what the substance was and that it was considered a controlled substance; and
- You possessed a usable amount of the substance.
In order to be convicted of possession with intent to sell meth, the prosecutor must prove:
- All the same elements as simple possession; and
- You bought or controlled the substance with intent to sell it.
In order to be convicted of selling, controlling, or administering meth, the prosecutor must prove:
- You actually sold, administered, gave to someone else, or transported the meth (or offered to do one of these things);
- You knew it was meth; and
- You knew it was a controlled substance.
Defending Health and Safety Code 11377, 11378, 11379
It is vital to contact and hire an attorney to help you defend against these charges. Drug charges not only carry a stigma about them, but they also carry heavy penalties, as discussed above.
An experienced attorney will look for creative ways to beat these charges or minimize your punishment. One such way to do this is to seek a Deferred Entry of Judgment, meaning the case will be dismissed upon your timely completion of a drug program proscribed by the court. This is only available if you are charged with possession of meth, not intent to sell or actual sale of meth.
Further, an attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to lesser the charge to a misdemeanor possession charge if the prosecution will have trouble proving all the elements of a greater charge. This will be aided by your clean criminal record and other factors.
Prosecutors bear the burden of proving the elements of these crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. This means there can be no doubt you satisfy each piece of the crime. If the prosecutor cannot meet this burden, you will be acquitted. This means a good attorney can help show you never actually possessed or purchased the meth, did not intend to sell or use it, or simply were unaware what the substance was or its illegality.
If any of these elements cannot be proven, the prosecution may agree to charge you with a lesser offense or dismiss the case altogether.
We Want to Help
Are you or a loved one is being charged with possessing or selling methamphetamines in California? We invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office located in Century City, or by phone.
Our experienced and assiduous attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.
Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529