Transportation for Sale of A Controlled Substance

California treats any drug-related offense severely, but it has recently taken steps to reform the penalties for dropping possession offenses and legalize marijuana. Although these reforms ease some drug-related sentencing, you could still face serious repercussions when facing drug-related or narcotic charges, especially transportation for the sale of a prohibited substance.

Health and Safety Code (HSC) 11352 governs California's transportation for sale of a prohibited substance charge. When you violate this statute, you will face a felony offense, and a conviction could result in long imprisonment in state prison. Sometimes, some factors can increase your sentence by adding your stay in jail.

A conviction for transportation for the sale of narcotics will result in severe penalties, especially if you do so near a children’s home or a homeless shelter. Additionally, you may end up facing collateral consequences on top of your sentence. Some of the effects could make gaining employment and housing difficult.

However, if you are found not guilty of the charges, you will not face collateral consequences. Therefore, you must consult with a Santa Ana criminal defense attorney who will help you win against your charges. Contact our criminal defense attorneys at Darwish Law, and we will use our resources to defend you and ensure you obtain the best outcome in your case.

Legal Definition Of Transportation For Sale Of A Prohibited Substance

In California, you will violate HSC 11352 when you knowingly move for sale a usable amount of a controlled substance. Under the law, transporting a prohibited substance for sale involves charges referring to certain prescription drugs and narcotics. Some of the medications or narcotics listed under HSC 11352 include:

  • Cocaine,
  • Peyote,
  • Heroin,
  • fentanyl,
  • Prescription opiates and drugs like Betamethadol,
  • Masculine,
  • Opium,
  • Methadone,
  • Codeine,
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol,
  • Morphine,
  • Dronabinol,
  • Oxycodone,
  • Vicodin,
  • LSD.

Some drugs and narcotics are not listed under Health and Safety Code (HSC) 11352. These drugs include:

  • Ecstasy,
  • Methamphetamine,
  • GHB,
  • Marijuana,
  • Ketamine,
  • PCP.

Although these drugs are not listed under California HSC 11353, it does not allow you to transport or sell them as you like, as most of these drugs have a set of laws governing them.

Proving the Elements of Transportation For Sale Of A Prohibited Substance Charges

When you face charges under California HSC 11352, the prosecution will have to prove the following facts for the charges to be held in court:

That You Sold, Administered, Gave Away, Imported, Furnished, Or Transported A Controlled Substance For Sale In California

This broad element allows it to cover every possible combination of giving another person a controlled substance. Regarding the transportation of narcotics or banned substances in California, the law broadly defines the term to ensure it covers all possible ways you could use to move the drug from one point to another.

You Knew Or Should Have Known That You Had The Controlled Substance

For this element to be held in court, you must know that you are transporting or selling a controlled substance or narcotic. If you are unaware that you possess a prohibited substance, you should not be convicted for the crime of transportation of drugs for sale.

You Knew of the Substance's Nature as a Controlled Substance

The law requires you to know that the substance in your control is a narcotic. If you were unaware of the nature of the substance in your possession or control, your defense team could use this as a defense against a transportation for the sale of a controlled substance charge. Although your defense team can say that you were unaware of the substance's nature, the law enforcement officers can use the following as evidence to prove to the court that you knew or ought to have known that the substance was prohibited drugs or narcotics:

  • If you have a criminal record for a conviction for drug-related offenses such as drug possession.
  • If you confess that you knew the substance was a drug or narcotic.
  • If you have a history of using narcotics or prohibited drugs.

You Had a Usable Amount of the Controlled Substance

The law defines a usable amount of a controlled substance as an amount that is enough to be tested in a crime lab. You will notice that this can be a meager amount of a controlled substance. For the law to convict you for transportation for the sale of a controlled substance, the court will require evidence showing that you had a usable amount of the drugs.

This means the narcotics do not necessarily have to make you high or affect the user. The concentration of the substance also does not matter whether it is diluted or pure, as long as it is usable. Therefore, transporting a controlled substance that is less than a usable amount will not face transportation for sale charges. However, you can still face charges for the sale of controlled substances.

For example, Nancy has some heroin. Desperate for money, she sells the heroine to her neighbor. Unfortunately for Nancy, her neighbor is an informant who informs the police and arrests her. Nancy can face and be convicted of transportation for the sale of prohibited substances.

When You Transported the Prohibited Substance for Sale

The prosecution has to prove that you intended to sell or had someone else sell the narcotics for the charge to be held in court.

Transportation of a Controlled Substance in California

 When you are facing transportation of a banned substance for sale charges, you move the drugs from one point to another; the distance, in this case, is irrelevant. You can move the prohibited substance long distances or across the street and still face the exact charges.

You will face transportation charges for the narcotics for sale if you travel by:

  • Train,
  • Plane,
  • Car,
  • Bicycle,
  • Bus,
  • Foot,
  • Taxi.

One thing to note when facing transportation for sale charges is that you do not have to own the controlled substance. The prosecution could charge you with constructive possession if another person possesses the narcotics while you have control of the drugs. For this to hold, you must know of the existence of the controlled substance.

For example, Mark and Miles are going camping. Mark asks Julie to join them and gives her a backpack to carry. The pack contains LSD. Mark drives very fast, and the traffic police pull them over. During the search, the police officers find the LSD in Julie's backpack. While Julie was in actual possession of the drugs, as she was carrying the bag, her lack of knowledge meant she was not responsible for the transportation of the drugs. However, Mark should face charges for constructive possession of the drugs.

Factors Contributing To Transportation For Sale of Narcotics

When obtaining a conviction for transportation for the sale of a prohibited substance charge, the determining factor is the actual transportation or sale of the banned drugs. The prosecution must clearly show that you transported, sold, or intended to sell the narcotics listed under California HSC 11352.

In most cases, you will face transportation for the sale of narcotics when you are involved in or dealing in large quantities of the substance. However, if you only have a usable amount of the drugs. In that case, your defense team could argue that you were only guilty of possession, which carries a lesser penalty than transportation for selling a controlled substance.

Sometimes you may face HSC 11352 charges when you furnish someone else with the prohibited drugs, even if you are not earning any profits from the proceedings.

Penalties For Transportation For The Sale Of A Banned Substance In California

In California, violating HSC 11352 is a “straight felony” punishable by up to nine years in state prison. A straight felony when dealing with drug-related offenses means that the prosecution files felony charges against you and not as a wobbler, resulting in a misdemeanor conviction.

A conviction for California HSC 11352 would result in:

  • State prison imprisonment ranges from three to six years, although, with the current state realignment program, you can serve your sentence in your local jail.
  • Paying an amount that does not exceed $20,000 in fines.
  • Felony probation.
  • Deportation for un-American citizens.

Aggravating factors that could increase transportation for sale of a controlled substance sentence

Apart from the standard sentencing, some circumstances could lead to an increase in your sentence. These circumstances include:

Transporting a controlled substance over or across two or more counties in California

This means that you transported the narcotics across counties that are not necessarily physically connected ( from one county to another). A conviction for this offense will lead to the following sentence:

  • State prison imprisonment ranges from three to nine years.
  • Payment of fines not exceeding $20,000.

If you are furnishing controlled substances

You will be charged with a misdemeanor offense if you run a business that furnishes and dispenses narcotics. A conviction for this will be:

  • One year of imprisonment in county jail.
  • Paying $5,000 in fines.

You should note that if you face any subsequent violation, a conviction will lead to one-year imprisonment in county jail or a payment that does not exceed $10,000 in fines.

Heroine transportation

If you are facing charges for transporting for sale heroin weighing 14.25 grams or more, a conviction will make you pay $50,000 in fines in addition to your prison sentence.

Transportation for the sale of controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin, or cocaine-based drugs around a detox center or a homeless center. A conviction will add one year to your sentence if you are selling or transporting for sale a banned substance at a certain distance (1,000 feet) within these institutions.

Prior conviction

A current offense will add three years to your sentence if you have a prior conviction for transportation for the sale of a prohibited substance. You will have to serve these other years consecutively with your sentence if your conviction results from transporting large quantities of cocaine, cocaine-base substances, or heroin. In that case, your punishment will increase substantially with the increased weight of the controlled substances. For instance, when you transport more than:

  • One kilogram will result in three years of imprisonment.
  • Four kilograms will lead to five years imprisonment.
  • Ten kilograms will lead to ten years in prison.
  • Fifteen kilograms will result in 15 years in prison.
  • If you are caught transporting over 40 kilograms, your sentence will be increased by an additional 20 years.
  • When you haul over 80 kilograms, you will earn another 25 years on your original sentence.

Additionally, transporting large quantities of the prohibited narcotics for sale will increase your fine from $1,000,000 to $8,000,000, which is the maximum amount. You should note that you will be ineligible for probation when your conviction is for intending to sell or selling:

  • An amount of heroin that is above 14.25 grams.
  • Heroin when you have a previous conviction for possession, transporting, or the sale of narcotics.
  • Methamphetamine, cocaine-based substance, or cocaine.
  • If you have a prior conviction for selling, possessing, and intending to sell a prohibited substance.

Common Legal Defenses

When facing transportation for the sale of a controlled substance under California HSC11352, there are some viable defense strategies that your defense team could use to secure a favorable verdict. Some of the defenses that your defense attorney can use include:

You Did Not Intend to Sell

Your defense can come up with a strategy that shows the court that you did not intend to sell the narcotics; rather, they were for personal use. With this type of defense, your criminal charge might be reduced to that of simple possession, which carries lighter sentencing.

Unlawful search and seizure by law enforcement agencies

Your defense team could use this defense if the police arrested you and gained the evidence against you illegally. The police failed to follow due diligence and the correct procedure while arresting you and seizing any controlled substances in your possession.

You Were Unaware Of The Controlled Substance

You could use this defense if you did not know that you possessed or controlled narcotics.

For example, Mercy has some old furniture and suitcases that she wants to sell. In one of the suitcases, there is a hidden pound of heroin. When she sells the bag to Milly, Milly finds the narcotics and reports Mercy for selling her prohibited substances. The police arrested Mercy for possessing, transporting, and selling controlled substances. Mercy can defend herself by proving to the court that she did not know the suitcase had narcotics.

Entrapment By Law Enforcement Agents

Sometimes the police can coerce you into transporting a controlled substance for sale and then set a trap to arrest you. Your defense team can use this defense, but you must show the court how the police set you up.

Lack Of A Usable Amount

For a conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the elements of the crime. You can then use this defense if there was no usable amount during your arrest. This could see you facing possession charges with lighter sentencing or the court dismissing your charges altogether.

For example, Dave owns a container that previously held some cocaine, though he was not aware that it had held cocaine. While the container has some cocaine left, it is not enough to use. If the police pull him over and, upon searching him, find the container, this residue is not enough for lab testing. In this case, he can lack a usable amount in his defense.

Mistaken Identity

In some cases, the police rely on security cameras when making their arrests. Some security cameras are unclear, and you may be arrested for mistaken identity. It is crucial to work with your attorney as they will help prove your innocence in such cases and have the court dismiss the charges against you.

You Did Not Know The Substance Was A Prohibited Substance

For a conviction for HSC 1352, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all the elements of the charge. One of the elements is that you must be aware of the substance's nature as a prohibited substance. You can show the court that you did not know the nature of the substance as a banned substance.

For example, if you share your apartment and your roommate asks you to pick up their car from the mechanic, they will be running late. At the shop, the mechanic asks you to drop an envelope off to your roommate. You pick up the car and the envelope, but the police pull you over. When they search the vehicle, they find the envelope atop one of the seats. You can show the court that you did not know the envelope contained some prohibited drugs.

You Had A Valid Prescription From Your Doctor

If the police accuse you of transporting controlled substances for sale, and the substance in question is a prescription medicine from your doctor, you can use this defense to have the court dismiss your charges.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

Facing drug-related charges in California can have long-lasting effects on your life. Whether you are facing these charges due to a setup, mistaken identity, or any other reason, you will need to have an experienced attorney at your back. The penalties are very harsh as they discourage people from committing drug-related offenses.

You should hire a criminal defense attorney in Santa Ana who understands the California criminal justice system to defend you against transporting for the sale of controlled substances charges. At Darwish Law, our attorneys know the procedure the prosecution uses while gathering evidence in drug-related cases. We will use this knowledge to our advantage and defend you against your charge. You do not have to worry about facing lengthy prison terms or paying hefty amounts in fines as our able team will ensure you receive the best possible outcome in your case. Kindly contact us at 714-887-4810, and we will assist you accordingly.