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CA HS 11378: Explaining Prosecution Arguments & Best Defenses

Posted in Drug FAQ'S on May 22, 2017

California Health and Safety Code 11378 HS makes it illegal to possess methamphetamine for the purpose of selling or distributing it to others. Convictions under this law result in felony charges, up to three years in jail, and fines of up to $10,000. If you find yourself charged with a crime under 11378 HS, seek help from a criminal defense attorney immediately. It may be possible to lessen your charges or convince the courts to drop them completely in certain situations.

Proving Charges Under 11378 HS

There are major differences between the penalties for possession of methamphetamine for sale and possession for personal use. The former is a felony, while the latter is only a misdemeanor. The lesser charge also comes with potential eligibility for a drug diversion program instead of jail time, which commonly leads to the courts dismissing the charges. Police will try to prove the possession of methamphetamine for sale instead of simple possession using evidence against you such as:

  • Large quantities of drugs. Police can argue that a large quantity of meth is unreasonable for an individual to possess for personal use, and therefore the defendant must have had plans to sell or deal the drug.
  • Baggies of meth in no particular quantities might signal personal use, while separate packages of carefully measured quantities might point to the possession of meth for sale.
  • A lot of cash (especially in smaller denominations) on the individual or in the home at the time of detainment may also be a red flag for police regarding 11378 HS, as it can serve as an indication that the person has recently been dealing in small cash transactions.
  • If you were loitering in an area where the sale of drugs is common, police may have reason to charge you with possession of meth for sale instead of simple possession.

In many cases, police may charge an individual under 11378 HS based on one or more of these factors, whether or not the person actually had the intent to sell the methamphetamine. It is up to a good defense attorney to poke holes in the prosecution, bringing a charge down to simple possession.

Possible Defenses Against 11378 HS Charges

There are a few common defenses that may come into effect during a trial for a 11378 HS charge. While the specifics of every case will be unique, here are three defenses that have been successful in the past:

  1. Illegal search and seizure. If the arresting police officer had no warrant or probable cause to search the defendant and/or seize property, the officer’s evidence against the defendant may not hold up in court. In some cases, an officer may have a defective warrant, such as one obtained using misleading information.
  2. The drugs did not belong to the defendant. Police might have assumed the defendant owns the drugs, but this may not be the case. For example, if several people have access to the vehicle, a potential defense may be that another person owned the drugs. In this case, the courts may be inclined to drop the charges against the defendant.
  3. The defendant had the meth for personal use, not for sale. It may be possible to prove that the defendant had plans to use the meth, not sell or distribute it. In these cases, charges may drop from a felony 11378 HS charge to a misdemeanor 11377 HS. At this point, the defendant has the opportunity to take a drug diversion course for a completely clean record.

In many cases, the court system wants to help individuals convicted of drug charges get clean and avoid future legal trouble. The right defense attorney can use this in your favor for 11378 HS charges, and help you face lesser penalties or no conviction at all.