California Health & Safety Code 11351

HSC 11351 – Drug Possession for Sale

HSC 11351 - Drug Possession for Sale

Drug Possession for Sale – Table of Contents

Possession with Intent to Sell

One of the more serious drug related crimes is possession of drugs, intent to sell, California Health and Safety Code 11351. Unlike HSC 11350 which punishes people for possessing a controlled substance for personal use, HSC 11351, drug possession for sale punishes people for possessing a large quantity of controlled substances with the intent to sell. A controlled substance is defined as any drug that is manufactured and regulated by the government. Common drugs that are considered controlled substances are, but not limited to:

  • Opiates
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Peyote
  • Some hallucinogenic drugs
  • Codeine
  • Vicodin

In order to be convicted of HSC 11351, drug possession for sale the prosecutor must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of HSC 11351, drug possession for sale are:

  1. That you knowingly possessed the drug
  2. That you knew the substance was a drug
  3. That you possessed enough of the drug to use it, or to sell it
  4. That you possessed the drug with the intent to sell it, or purchased the drug with the intent to resell it

If the prosecutor cannot prove each of the elements mentioned above beyond a reasonable doubt then you will not be convicted of HSC 11351, drug possession for sale.

HSC 11351, drug possession for sale is a felony and is heavily punished in California. If the prosecutor is successful in your conviction then you will face the following:

  • Formal probation and up to one year in county jail, or
  • Up to four years in state prison
  • Fines up to $20,000
  • Possible deportation

There are some factors that will increase your sentencing:

If are found guilty of possessing cocaine base for sale then you will face up to 5 years in state prison and fines up to $20,000.

If you are found guilty of possessing heroin, cocaine base or cocaine then you will face an additional:

  • 3-years if the substance exceeded 1kg
  • 5-years if the substance exceeded 10kg
  • 15-years if the substance exceeded 20kg
  • 20-years if the substance exceeded 40kg
  • 25-years if the substance exceeded 80kg
  • In addition to the sentencing mentioned above, you will also face fines up to $80,000

If you are found guilty of HSC 11351, drug possession for sale and you have a prior drug related conviction, other than a HSC 11350 conviction then you will face an additional 3-year prison term for each and every prior conviction. In other words, if you you were previously convicted of HS 11351 twice before then you will serve and additional 6-years after your initial prison sentence.

Unfortunately, a HSC 11351, drug possession for sale conviction does not make you eligible for drug diversion. In accordance to Proposition 36, PC 1000 and California drug court, jail and prison sentences can be replaced with drug diversion. If you are convicted of the lesser charge of HSC 11350 instead of HSC 11351, drug possession for sale then you might be eligible for the program.

Prosecuting Possession of Drugs, Intent to Sell HSC 11351

As previously mentioned, in order to be convicted of HSC 11351, drug possession for sale the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That you knowingly possessed the drug
  2. That you knew the substance was a drug
  3. That you possessed enough of the drug to use it, or to sell it
  4. That you possessed the drug with the intent to sell it, or purchased the drug with the intent to resell it

Understanding of the Law

It’s imperative to have a thorough understanding of the language of the law in order to understand what the prosecutor has to prove. For instance, there are three varying degrees of possession all of which are illegal: actual possession, constructive possession, and joint possession.

Carrying Method

Actual possession refers to when you are physically carrying the drug, either in your hand, pocket or something that is attached to you, like a backpack.

Constructive possession refers to when drugs are found in something that you control, like your home or apartment.

Joint possession refers to when you and at least one other person are in possession of the drug or when a drug is found in a shared area, like the living room of a home.

Was it knowingly?

Another important term that is common in the elements of the crimes is knowledge. The crime requires that you knowingly had possession of the drug and that you knew the drug was indeed a drug. It is not required that you know the specifics of the drug only that you know that the drug was illegal in nature.

Was it Intentional?

In order to be convicted of HSC 11351 the prosecutor has to prove that you intended to sell the drug. This is the most crucial element of the crime for a successful HSC 11351, drug possession for sale conviction. If the prosecutor cannot prove that you intended to sell the drugs then it’s likely that you will still be charged with HSC 11350, possession of a controlled substance.

The key factors that the prosecutor will investigate when building their case are:

  • How much of the controlled substance you had
  • How was the drug packaged
  • The presence of drug paraphernalia

Casting Doubt

It is easy to understand that if there is a large quantity of narcotics then it’s likely that they are not for individual use. However, if is the prosecutor’s job to prove to the court beyond a reasonable doubt that you didn’t just buy a lot of drugs for yourself.

If the arresting officers find the drugs individually packaged in baggies, balloons, etc. then they will likely arrest you for HSC 11351, drug possession for sale because it is unlikely that you would have your drugs for personal use individually wrapped.

Existing Evidence

If the arresting officers find drug paraphernalia like scales, empty bags or specific tools then they will likely charge you with HSC 11351, drug possession for sale because in the eyes of the law there is no reason to possess these devices in connection with drugs unless you were selling the drugs. The prosecutor must then take the evidence that the officer’s found and present it to the jury in order to prove that you were using the paraphernalia for drug sale.

Defending Possession of Drugs, Intent to Sell

There are several common legal defense strategies that a skilled criminal defense attorney will explore to see if any pertain to your case. The first is to make sure that any evidence was acquired lawfully and not through an illegal search and seizure. This is arguably the easiest way to have a case dismissed for you and your attorney. If your attorney can prove that police misconduct occurred either while obtaining evidence or during the arrest then the case will be dismissed and the charges will be dropped.

Was is Intent?

Another legal defense is to prove that you never intended to sell the drugs. If you were arrested for HSC 11351, drug possession to sell but there is minimal evidence against you, for example, maybe there was not any drug paraphernalia at the time of the arrest, then it’s difficult for the prosecutor to convict you for HSC 11351, Drug Possession for Sale. With that being said, you still might be convicted for HSC 11350 but that is a much lesser charge and can successfully be dismissed.

felony possession of prescription drugs

Lack of Knowledge

Another defense is lack of knowledge, either of the presence of the drug or that the drug was illegal. If for example, you borrowed your friend’s car and were unaware of the drugs within it then you cannot be convicted of HSC 11351, drug possession for sale.  One of the required elements of the crime is that you were knowingly in possession of the drugs.

Are you Innocent?

These are only the most common legal defenses and might not pertain to your case. However, each case is different and requires its own approach to prove your innocence with the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney.

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one is being charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent, 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, or by phone. Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense 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

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We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

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