CA Health & Safety 11370.6 HSC

HSC 11370.6 – Possession of Over $100,000 Relating to Drug Sales

HSC 11370.6 - Possession of Over $100,000 Relating to Drug Sales

Possession of Over $100,000 Relating to Drug Sales – Table of Contents

What is California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC?

California Possession of Over $100,000 Relating to Drug Sales, Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC is fairly straightforward as far as crimes and their legal definitions go. As the description indicates, California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC deals with the specific crime of being in possession of money in excess of $100,000 that has its origins in the sale of controlled substances. In order to fully understand, let us first examine the actual language used in the Health and Safety Code, specifically in subsection (a), which states how an individual can be found to be in violation of this code:

Every person who possesses any moneys or negotiable instruments in excess of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) which have been obtained as the result of the unlawful sale, possession for sale, transportation, manufacture, offer for sale, or offer to manufacture any controlled substance listed in Section 11054, 11055, 11056, 11057, or 11058, with knowledge that the moneys or negotiable instruments have been so obtained, and any person who possesses any moneys or negotiable instruments in excess of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) which are intended by that person for the unlawful purchase of any controlled substance listed in Section 11054, 11055, 11056, 11057, or 11058 and who commits an act in substantial furtherance of the unlawful purchase…

The language of this code references controlled substances from five different Health and Safety Code sections. These five Health and Safety Code sections cover pretty much all known and quantified drugs, specifically covering drugs listed in Schedule I through Schedule V of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. These five schedules list dozens of different drugs and different variations of drugs. For all intents and purposes then, to enable our understanding of California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6, controlled substance means a drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession, or use is regulated in some way by the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. So, to put the language of California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC into layman’s terms then, it is a crime for anyone to be in possession of more than $100,000 that was earned through the sale or production of controlled substances or in possession of more than $100,000 intended for the purchase of the same defined controlled substances.

Elements of California Possession of Over $100,000 Relating to Drug Sales Section 113760.6 HSC

When examining the elements of California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC, it is important to first look to the Judicial Council of California’s Criminal Jury Instructions, which lays out what information is to be imparted to a jury in deciding a case of this nature. In order to prove that an individual is guilty of violating California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC, the prosecution must establish the following facts:

  1. The individual did in fact possess more than $100,000 (in either cash or some other form holding the equivalent value of over $100,000);
  2. The cash or other valuables were obtained from the sale, possession for sale, transportation, manufacture, offer to sell, or offer to manufacture of a controlled substance; AND
  3. The individual knew that the cash or cash equivalent was obtained as a result of the sale, possession for sale, transportation, manufacture, offer to sell, or offer to manufacture of the controlled substance.

As noted in the definition of the crime, California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC can also be applied to an individual that is looking to use the money to purchase controlled substances. This is true even if the money in question was originally obtained through legitimate means.

In making a determination as to whether or not an individual meets these required elements of the crime, the Jury Instructions also note that the prosecution can make available to the jury such information as whether the individual is gainfully employed, the opinions of controlled substance experts as to the source of the cash or other valuables in question, and any documentation memorializing the sale of any controlled substances.

It is crucial to note that both the definition of the crime itself as laid out in California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC and the Judicial Council of California’s Criminal Jury Instructions do not require that the accused individual actually be in possession at any time of a controlled substance. Without any physical or constructive possession necessary to convict someone of this crime, the third listed element of knowledge then becomes crucial.

As noted in discussions of myriad other crimes, the element of knowledge is paramount in California and in our criminal justice system writ large. The Latin phrase mens rea, which translates literally to “guilty mind” in English, is a legal principle that deals with the essential element of an individuals’ intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that is ever-present when discussing crimes. Without the requisite mens rea, or guilty mind, an individual cannot be said to have knowledge of their illegal actions. Without this knowledge, the elements of the crime that must be proven by the prosecution break down.

What is the Penalty for Violating California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6?

If the prosecution can in fact prove the above elements of California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC, then an individual is facing some severe penalties. Since drug and drug-related offenses are treated with the utmost seriousness in California, a successful conviction under California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC can present serious hardship. A silver lining is the fact that California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC is considered a “wobbler” offense in California, meaning that it can either be tried as a misdemeanor or a felony. This determination hinges largely on the specific facts of the case and also the accused individual’s criminal history. The more prior offenses an individual has, especially if the prior offenses are ones involving drugs, the more likely that it will be tried as a felony offense.

If the California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC is determined to be a misdemeanor offense, an individual will be facing up to one year in county jail. A financial penalty of up to $1,000 will also be levied against the individual. However, if the crime is deemed a felony offense, then the individual is looking at a possible sentence of two, three, or four years in state prison. In addition, the penalty jumps up to at least $10,000 for a felony offense.

How Do You Defend Against This Charge?

To defend against a charge under California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC, it is important to once again look at the elements of the crime. The first, and most obvious, involves the sum of money. If the sum of money in question is in fact not in excess of $100,000, then an individual cannot be said to be in violation of California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC.

Second, the source of the money, or the intended use of the money, must involve controlled substances. An effective defense, therefore, would be to offer countervailing evidence to show that the source of the more than $100,000 came from other, legitimate revenue streams. If an individual is gainfully employed and can show income to cover this amount, this is one effective way to fight against these charges. It is upon the prosecution to establish the link between the money and the controlled substances. If one cannot be established effectively, then the individual remains innocent of the charges. Having a skilled criminal defense attorney to help establish the existence of these other revenue streams is crucial in most cases.

A third effective defense revolves around the legal principle of knowledge. As noted above, without the proper mens rea, an individual cannot be found guilty of most crimes. The prosecutor must also prove that the individual possessed this knowledge. The individual must know the source of the money came from the sale, possession for sale, transportation, manufacture, offer to sell, or offer to manufacture a controlled substance. If this knowledge cannot be demonstrated by the prosecutor, or if information establishing the opposite can effectively be demonstrated by the defense, then the individual cannot be found guilty of violating California’s Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC.

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one has been charged with violating California’s Health and Safety Code Section 11370.6 HSC in the Southern California area, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review.

Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

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