Drug Possession For Sale
Possessing a Controlled Substance for Sale
Drug possession for sale is a criminal offense in California that occurs when a person has unlawful drugs in their possession and they are carrying the drugs with the intention to sell them to another individual. Under California Health & Safety Code 11351 HS, every person who possesses for sale or purchases for purposes of sale any controlled substance shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years. There are a variety of Illicit and prescribed drugs that are considered “controlled substances”, including: methamphetamine, PCP, cocaine, crack, heroin, marijuana, codeine, morphine and Vicodin. In Los Angeles, a drug possession for sale charge is a serious offense
When an individual is suspected of committing a drug possession for sale criminal offense, police have to be able to prove that the individual actually intended to sell the unlawful drugs before they can make a legitimate arrest. In many cases, police are able to conclude that the individual intended to sell the drugs in their possession if the person is carrying a large amount of the unlawful drugs, carrying a lot of cash, or if they find the individual talking or “dealing” with another person and witness an exchange of money or drugs.
After a individual is arrested for possession for sale of an unlawful drug, it is now the responsibility of the district attorney to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the individual possessed the controlled substance for sale. In order to secure a conviction, the prosecutor will present common arguments that:
- You had “control” over an unlawful substance – Under the definition outlined in California Health & Safety Code 11351, “control” can be “actual” or “constructive”, and can be “jointly” possessed. “Actual” control is by far the easiest to define. For example, if you are arrested with the unlawful substance on your person, like in your pocket or sock. You are considered to have “constructive” possession if you have access to it, or you have the right to control it, even if you do not physically possess the unlawful substance. For example, if you are pulled over by police for a traffic violation and during the course of the conversation, the officer notices what appears to be an unlawful substance in plain view. You are the owner of the vehicle and are alone. “Joint” possession is defined where two or more people have possession of an unlawful substance. For example, police discover an unlawful substance in a common area of a shared residence.
- You had “knowledge” that the drug was a controlled substance – It is not necessary to know exactly what type of unlawful substance you possess. Simply knowing, or should have known, that the drug is unlawful is sufficient.
- The amount of the unlawful substance was enough to sell – The quantity of the unlawful substance must be enough that it can actually be used as an unlawful substance to the people it was sold to.
- You possessed the unlawful substance with the specific intent to sell it – Even if you didn’t have specific intent to sell the unlawful substance yourself, as long as you specifically intended for someone to sell the drugs, you can be convicted. In order for the prosecutor to prove that you intended to sell the unlawful substance, they will typically have the arresting officer testify about the quantity and packaging of the unlawful substance, and any absence of drug paraphernalia. The quantity of the unlawful substance is critically important in proving you possessed the unlawful substance with intent to sell it. If the amount confiscated is more than what the officer believes a casual user would normally possess for personal consumption, then they will charge you with possession with intent to sell. If the unlawful substance is packaged in multiple balloons or baggies – and you possess scales, a large supply of empty baggies and instruments used for measuring – then it makes it easier for the prosecutor to prove you intended to sell the unlawful substance. Finally, the prosecutor will attempt to prove you intended to sell the unlawful substance if there was an absence of paraphernalia. Paraphernalia usually includes syringes, pipes or any instrument used to consume an unlawful substance. In their view, paraphernalia indicates personal use and the lack of it indicates another purpose – such as an intent to sell.
Specialist in Defending Charges of Drug Possession For Sale
Goldstein Law Group has a skilled and experienced team of Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley criminal defense attorneys. We understand how to defend you against charges of drug possession for sale. These defenses include, but are not limited to:
- Illegal search and seizure– Search and seizure is a legal procedure used by police, who suspect that a crime has been committed, so they conduct a search of a person and/or their property and confiscate any relevant evidence to the crime. A defense of illegal search and seizure apply to several different situations such as: (1) A warrantless search(2) A search that exceeds the scope of the warrant (3) An illegal detention (4) excessive forced used to seize the unlawful substance.
- Lack of possession or knowledge – Often when the police find unlawful drugs in a car, they will arrest everyone in the car if no one admits to it. However, merely being in a car where drugs are located is not a crime. They must prove you knew the drugs were there. These cases can be defended by testimony that the defendant knew nothing about the drugs.
- No intent to sell – Even if you possessed an unlawful substance, you intent to sell can be questioned. Prosecutors must prove that you did not just intend to consume the substance yourself.
In a recent case in Los Angeles Superior Court, Van Nuys Courthouse, attorney Michael A. Goldstein obtained a dismissal of charges for his client at the preliminary hearing who was arrested for possession for sale and cultivation of 43 pounds of packaged marijuana. After presenting an affirmative medical marijuana defense, the court granted his motion to dismiss. A motion for the return of all marijuana was thereafter filed. In another case in the Van Nuys Courthouse involving methamphetamine, Michael obtained dismissal of charges after filing a motion to suppress evidence to challenge the constitutionality of the detention and search of his client. At the time of the hearing, a deal was reached where client entered a plea to trespassing and received no jail time or community service.
Contact a Drug Possession For Sale Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance for sale, our attorneys have successfully defended hundreds of clients in all LA County Courts. We have over four decades of experience in drug possession for sale cases. When you come to our offices, you will meet with an experienced, knowledgeable, and well-practiced drug defense lawyer who can inform you of your rights, explain your best options, and answer any questions you may have. We will immediately begin preparing your case. Our number one priority is making sure you are not found guilty, and that you walk away from this experience with your rights and freedom intact!
To discuss your drug possession for sale charges with a dedicated law firm, call our office.
Drug Possession for Sale Resources:
Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution – Search and Seizures
United States Criminal Law – Probable Cause
Wikipedia Encyclopedia – Search Warrants
California Health and Safety Code – Sections 11378 – 11379
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