Drug offenses are among the most severely punished in California. The nature of the offense and your criminal history determine the charges and penalties for these offenses. The transportation of a controlled substance for sale is a serious crime punishable by prison time and hefty court fines. A conviction results in a damaging criminal record that can impact your life long-term. If facing charges for transportation and selling regulated substances in Anaheim, you should work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. At California Criminal Lawyer Group, we select the best defense strategies for our clients' cases to obtain a favorable outcome. You can contact us immediately following your arrest to get the legal process started on the right foot.

An Overview of Transportation of a Controlled Substance For Sale

Controlled substances are chemicals and drugs whose manufacture and use are regulated by the government. The Controlled Substances Act applies to these substances. Some, like marijuana, are legal to possess for own use, whereas others, even in small amounts, are illegal. Drug-related crimes are common. The police are constantly on the lookout for people who are breaking drug laws. They conduct criminal investigations and make immediate arrests if they suspect someone.

Controlled substances are risky because they impair a person's ability and can lead to addiction or abuse. Possession of certain controlled substances alone can result in serious criminal charges. If you are guilty of transporting a regulated substance and intending to sell it, the severity of your charges will increase.

HS 11352 prohibits transporting a controlled drug for sale. Under this law, transporting a controlled drug from one location to another to sell it is a severe criminal offense. It makes no difference how far this move is because even the slightest movement violates this law. Most controlled substances covered by this law are narcotics, like heroin, cocaine, LSD, and peyote. The law applies to opiates like codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. However, the state has different laws governing the transport and sale of marijuana and methamphetamine.

HS 11352 explicitly prohibits the following:

  • The sale of controlled substances.
  • Transportation of controlled substances for sale.
  • Delivery and supply of controlled substances.
  • Giving away or furnishing controlled substances.

The Controlled Substances Act is a federal law that governs the possession, use, and distribution of controlled substances. The law classifies these substances into four schedules based on their level of safety, medical use, and potential for abuse and addiction. Some drugs have no medicinal value and are highly addictive, so they are Schedule I substances. Other drugs, classified as Schedule IV, have medicinal value and a low risk of addiction and abuse.

The gravity of your charges under this law will be determined by the schedule into which the drug in question falls. For example, if you transport a Schedule I drug for sale, you will face a harsher penalty than a Schedule IV drug.

Legal Meaning of Transportation of Controlled Substances for Sale

If the police suspect you of transporting a controlled drug for sale, they will arrest you immediately and turn your case to the prosecutor. Police thoroughly investigate drug-related crimes to ensure that there is enough evidence for a prosecutor to file criminal charges against suspected offenders. Even with solid evidence, the prosecutor must prove all offenses beyond a reasonable doubt for the judge to find the defendant guilty. These are the elements:

  • That you did any or more of these acts with a regulated substance:
  • Sold it.
  • Furnished it through selling or otherwise.
  • Administered it by causing someone else to consume the substance orally through an injection or any other means.
  • Gave it out.
  • Offered any of the acts mentioned above.
  • You knew or should have reasonably known that the substance was in your possession.
  • You knew of the nature and character of the substance as a regulated drug.
  • The substance in your possession was in usable quantities.

Here is a detailed explanation of some of these elements to help you understand the offense even better:

A Controlled Substance

According to the Controlled Substances Act, HS 11352 is about controlled substances. It means that the law pertains to transportation for the sale of controlled substances, which includes the following:

  • Cocaine and cocaine base.
  • Opiates and all opiate derivatives.
  • Peyote.
  • Heroin.
  • GHB.
  • Some prescription medicines like codeine and hydrocodone.

Assume you have usable amounts of marijuana, Ecstasy, and Codeine, and the police suspect you intend to sell the drugs. In that case, you will face charges under various statutes, including HS 11360 for Ecstacy, HS 11360 for Marijuana, and HS 11352 for Codeine. It is best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after your arrest to understand the various laws under which your charges fall. Your lawyer will also assist you in understanding your options and how to defend yourself against the charges.

Transporting a Controlled Substance

Carrying, transferring, or moving a substance from one place to another is what transportation entails. It is applicable even over short distances. A substance can be transported by walking, biking, driving, or flying. However, transporting the drug cannot support your charges under this statute. You had to intend to sell the drugs. If you only transported the drugs without the intention of selling them, you will face charges for possessing a controlled drug.

Example: Sammy discovers a stash of heroin in his uncle's bedroom while visiting him. He does not use drugs but knows someone nearby who could buy the cache quickly before his uncle returns home from work. Sammy places the stash in a backpack and walks down the street, intending to find the substance. The police stop him before reaching his destination. Sammy is responsible for transporting heroin for sale by walking with the drugs a few blocks from his uncle's house.

Remember that you only violate this statute if the substance is in usable quantities. If the police discover trace amounts of drugs in your bag, pockets, or car, you are not guilty. However, the requirement for usable amounts applies to the transportation of a regulated drug, not its sale.

Offering to Transport, Furnish or Sell a Regulated Substance

Under this law, you could also face charges if you offer to transport, furnish, sell, give away, or administer a regulated substance. But, you are criminally guilty of agreeing to transport or sell the substance if another person makes the offer and you accept it.

Example: Jacob recently relocated to a new neighborhood. He cannot wait to meet new people and hang out with his peers. But the new friends he has made in the neighborhood require him to run a few errands to put his loyalty to the test. He is supposed to deliver drugs to some individuals on another street. Jacob reluctantly agrees but does not intend to return to complete the task.

Jacob has agreed to transport controlled drugs to demonstrate his loyalty to his new friends, but he has no intention of carrying out the offer. As a result, he is not violating Health and Safety Code 11352.

Knowledge About The Presence and Nature of the Substances

To convict you, the prosecutor must show you knew of the substances in your possession and their nature as controlled substances. You are not guilty unless you have this knowledge.

Example: Laura's uncle asks her to deliver a package of drugs to a specific person in a downtown office. Laura does not know what the drugs in the sealed package are. Unfortunately, she is stopped and arrested a few blocks from her uncle's house. Laura is not guilty under this statute because she is unaware of the nature of the substances she is delivering..

Drug Possession

For the police to arrest and charge you with transportation for sale, you must have the abovementioned substances. Possession can be either direct or indirect/constructive. When you have direct control of the drugs, you have direct possession. They could be in a package in your hands, bag, pockets, or car.

You could also face charges for having the drugs in your possession indirectly. You have indirect or constructive possession when you control drugs but have not handled or touched them. The prosecutor must show you had personal or constructive control over the drugs.

Example: Mitch runs a drug operation and employs several people. He orders drugs from suppliers, who then deliver them to their location. He instructs his employees on how to package the drugs, where they must be delivered, and how much money they must collect. Mitch is also guilty of drug-related charges, even though his employees are. He could face serious drug charges even if he does not handle or transport the drugs in person.

How the Prosecutor Will Build Your Case

Before arresting anyone for the transportation and sale of a regulated substance, the police conduct extensive investigations across several operations. People who commit drug crimes are cautious in their operations, making it difficult for the police to catch them in the act. The police sometimes require deception to make arrests. At times, the police must protect confidential informants and their families to carry out successful operations.

The information provided by some informants to the police is sometimes misleading. Other tactics, like undercover operations, must be used to gather solid evidence to support an arrest and prosecution.

Surveillance and observation are two other methods used by the police to gather evidence. Some law enforcement agencies set up camps to observe suspicious drug deals in specific locations. These locations could be near the suspect's workplace, home, or areas popular with drug-related transactions.

If the police arrest you for transporting a controlled drug for sale, the prosecutor could already have strong evidence against you. As a result, you should think about strategies for obtaining a plea bargain or defending yourself against your charges. A skilled criminal lawyer can assist you in fighting your charges and obtaining a favorable outcome.

Legal Penalties and Other Consequences of a Conviction for Transportation For Sale of a Regulated Substance

A violation of HS 11352 is a straight felony, attracting the following penalties:

  • Three, four, or five years in jail under a drug realignment program.
  • Three to nine years in jail for transporting controlled substances across two or more counties.
  • Felony probation.
  • Court fines amounting to $20,000.

Note that if your case involves the following, you are not suitable for sentence suspension or felony probation:

  • Transportation of a minimum of 14.25 grams of heroin for sale.
  • Transporting or agreeing to transport any quantity of heroin for sale when you have a prior conviction for possessing a controlled drug for sale.
  • Transporting or agreeing to transport methamphetamine, cocaine, or cocaine base for sale when you have a prior conviction for selling or agreeing to sell a controlled drug.

Sentencing Enhancements

Under certain conditions, transporting or agreeing to transport regulated substances for sale could result in a more severe penalty. These are some examples of such circumstances:

Transporting or Offering to Transport Regulated Substances Near Homeless Shelters or Drug Treatment Centers

If any of the following apply to your case, you could face another year in prison on top of the time already served for the underlying offense:

  • The substance in question was cocaine, a cocaine derivative, or heroin.
  • You committed or offered to commit the offense while on the ground or within 1,000 feet of a homeless shelter or a drug treatment facility.

Transportation of a Large Quantity of Cocaine or Heroin

If the facts of your case involve a large amount of cocaine or heroin, you could face the following additional penalties:

  • If the drugs weigh one kilogram or more, the period increases by three years.
  • If the substances weigh more than 4 kg, the period increases by five years.
  • If the substance is more than 10 kg, the period increases by ten years.
  • If the drugs weigh more than 20 kg, the sentence increases by 15 years.
  • If the substance is more than 40 kg, the period extends by 20 years.
  • Additional 25 years if the weight of the drugs exceeds 80 kg.

An additional jail sentence for the above-mentioned circumstances comes with a further court fine that could range from one million to eight million dollars.

Previous Convictions

You will face another sentence if you have a prior felony sentence for a drug-related offense and are found guilty under HS 11352. You could face another penalty of up to three years for each prior conviction on your criminal record.

Transportation for the Sale of Controlled Drugs to Specific People

The court will likely impose a harsher sentence if there is evidence that you intended to sell the transported substances to specific people, like:

  • A pregnant woman.
  • An ex-convict of a violent felony.
  • A person receiving treatment for a drug-related problem or mental disorder.

Immigration Consequences

Most drug offenses have serious immigration ramifications that you should be aware of if you are an immigrant. According to federal immigration laws, HS 11352 is a deportable offense. It means that even with legal immigration status, you will face deportation if a court finds you guilty of transporting a controlled drug for sale.

Penalties for Transporting Controlled Drugs for Sale to Minors

If the facts of your case involve minors (people under 18), you will face charges under a different statute, HS 11353. If you did any of the following and are an adult, you could face charges under this law:

  • Employing, hiring, or using a minor to transport and sell controlled substances.
  • Selling, furnishing, administering, or giving away controlled drugs to minors (or agreeing to do so).

If you are guilty under this statute, you will receive a prison penalty of three to nine years.

Furthermore, suppose the substances in question were cocaine or heroin. In that case, you could face another year or two in state prison if the crime occurred within 1000 feet of a worship center, a school, or other facility children frequently visit.

Defending Yourself Against Your Charges

A conviction for transporting a regulated substance for sale carries serious consequences. However, you can defend yourself during the trial. You can do this with the assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer to increase your chances of a favorable outcome. Your attorney will have several defense strategies to persuade the judge to reduce or dismiss your charges. The most effective of these strategies are:

You Are a Victim of an Illegal Search and Seizure by the Police

Even though the police are mandated to investigate crimes and make arrests, they must adhere to established procedures to avoid violating people's civil rights. If the police suspect you of wrongdoing, they need a clear search warrant to search your person, house, or vehicle. The police could conduct these searches without first obtaining a warrant. Other times, they go above and beyond the terms of the warrant. If any of these happened to you, you could cite a violation of your rights to have the evidence against you ruled inadmissible in court. The judge will not accept the evidence obtained through an illegal search and seizure.

Police Misconducted Themselves During Investigation

When investigating crimes, the police must adhere to a standard procedure. Misconduct could render any evidence gathered inadmissible in court. You could use this defense strategy if any of the following occurred before, during, or after your arrest:

  • An officer planted evidence or drugs on your person or property to conduct an arrest.
  • An officer lied about where the drugs were discovered, for example, claiming that they were discovered in your car when, in fact, they were in a parking lot where you had parked your car.
  • The arresting officer lied about having probable cause to arrest you.
  • Excessive force used by officers to obtain evidence or a confession.

In drug-related cases, police misconduct is common since a conviction requires substantial evidence. If there is evidence that one or more officers committed misconduct, the judge can dismiss some or all of the evidence gathered against you. As a result, the prosecutor will need more proof to obtain a conviction.

You Are a Victim of Police Entrapment

The police use entrapment as a strategy when investigating crimes. If officers suspect you of transporting regulated substances for sale, they could pretend to be buyers or offer to help transport drugs. If you fall for the ruse, the police will immediately arrest you.

Though entrapment is an acceptable police strategy, the judge can dismiss your charges if you show that you only committed or agreed to commit the offense due to entrapment. You must demonstrate to the jury that you could not have committed the crime without the officers' deception, fraud, or coercion.

You Lacked Knowledge of the Presence or Nature of the Drugs

According to HS 11352, you must be aware of the presence and type of drugs in your possession. You are not guilty of transporting or offering to transport a regulated substance for sale if you do not have this knowledge. You could use this defense strategy if someone else gave you the drugs and misled you about the nature of the drugs. Or, someone could have placed the drugs in your bag or car to cause you to transport them from one location to another. The judge will dismiss your charges if you can prove your innocence.

Find an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me

If you are facing criminal charges in Anaheim for transporting a controlled drug for sale, you must be devastated. In that case, it is beneficial to understand the nature of the offense, the potential penalties for conviction, and your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. A skilled criminal defense attorney with experience handling drug-related charges can assist you with the legal process and your defense. At California Criminal Lawyer Group, we begin working on your case immediately after your arrest. We do this to collect evidence, brief you on your options and prepare for defense. We also fight hard in court to achieve a favorable result. Call us at 714-766-0965 to learn more about what we can do for you.