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California Health and Safety Code 11351 | Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance

Posted in California Law,Drugs on June 17, 2024

While simple possession of drugs is typically a misdemeanor offense in California, possession for sale is classified as a felony. A conviction can result in severe penalties that derail your life and limit your opportunities. If you are facing charges for possession or sale of a controlled substance, take your first step to protect your freedom by contacting at Riverside drug sales attorney at the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath, APC today.

What Is California Health and Safety Code 11351 Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance?

California Health and Safety Code Section 11351 makes it illegal to possess certain controlled substances with the intent to sell them. This law applies to various types of drugs, including:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Opiates
  • LSD
  • GHB
  • Ecstasy
  • Peyote
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Hallucinogens

How Possession Is Defined

There are two forms of possession recognized in the context of drugs: actual and constructive. Actual possession means that drugs are found on your person or in your immediate belongings, such as in your pocket, backpack, or briefcase. Constructive possession means you have control and access to the drugs, such as by keeping them in your home or car.

For the prosecutor to prove you had possession, they must show that you were aware of the drug’s presence. For example, if you had a friend who was riding in the backseat of your car and hid the drugs in the seat without telling you, you were not aware of the possession, and you should not be found guilty of the charge. However, if you and your friend were on the way to sell the drugs and your friend told you they were hiding them in your car, you would have the requisite knowledge to be found guilty of this offense.

How Intent to Sell Is Proven

For a person to be convicted of this charge, they must have a usable amount of the controlled substance to sell it. Traces of drug residue are insufficient to prove the offense. However, the prosecution can prove the intent to sell based on the amount of the drug in question alone if that amount is unreasonable for solely personal use. The prosecution can also prove the intent to sell based on the presence of items such as scales, baggies, registers, and large amounts of cash.

Notably, the prosecution does not have to prove a drug sale occurred in order to convict you of possession to sell under this law.

What Are the Penalties for California Health and Safety Code 11351?

If you are convicted under this offense, you can face serious consequences, including:

  • Up to four years in jail
  • Up to $20,000 in fines
  • Probation

If the prosecution can prove you intended to make multiple sales, these penalties can be imposed for each intended sale.

Additionally, a conviction under California Health and Safety Code Section 11351 makes you ineligible for drug diversion.

Your penalties can be increased if you have a prior drug conviction or other aggravating circumstances are present. Some intent-to-sale cases can result in penalties of up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $8 million.

Contact a Riverside Drug Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing drug charges, contact the experienced legal team at the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath, APC for immediate assistance. You can call us at (951) 667-5293 to arrange a free and confidential consultation with a criminal defense attorney.