Possession For Sale
What is Drug Trafficking or “Possession for Sale”?
Drug trafficking, covered under California’s Health and Safety Code Section 11351, is defined as possessing illegal drugs with the intent to sell, exchange, or “deal” them to others. The violation is a felony and typically results in a state prison term. Possession for sale applies to the buying/selling or transportation of numerous controlled substances, which are specifically named in the statute. Marijuana, cocaine, meth, and legal but abused pharmaceuticals are among the more common drugs involved. In many cases, those only possessing such drugs for their own use are charged with drug trafficking, making it crucial for the accused to have the services of an experienced attorney.
According to their categories, some of the many drugs listed in HSC 11351 are as follows:
- Opiates and other opium-derived drugs: Heroin, psilocybin (“mushrooms”), codeine methyl-bromide, morphine methyl-bromide, deso-morphine, myro-phine, nico-codeine, oxy-codone, hydro-codone, di-hydro-codeine, and methadone.
- Hallucinogens: Marijuana, cocaine, di-meth-oxy-amphetamine, mescaline, peyote, fene-thylline, and ethyl-amphetamine.
- Stimulants: Amphetamine, meth-amphetamine, di-methyl-amphetamine, benz-phetamine, and methyl-enedioxy-meth-amphetamine (also called MDMA, “ecstasy,” and “Molly”).
- Depressants: Amo-barbital, phenyl-cyclohexyl piperidine (PCP), phenyl-cyclohexyl morpholine (PCM), and piperidino-cyclohexane carbo-nitrile (PCC).
- Steroids: Andro-isoxazole, di-hydro-mesterone, nandrolone, testosterone, chorionic gonado-tropin, and ketamine.
What Must the Prosecutor Prove?
When facing allegations of possession for sale of an illicit drug, the prosecution must prove beyond doubt all of the following elements:
- You were in illegal possession of a controlled substance.
- You were aware of the controlled substance’s presence.
- You knew of the substance’s nature/character- that is, you knew it was a controlled substance.
- While in possession of the controlled substance, you had intention to sell it.
- The substance is listed in HSC Section 11351.
- The substance was present in a “usable amount.”
Defenses Against Possession For Sale
Some of the most common defense arguments that skilled attorneys will use to defend against charges of possession for sale include:
- You were never in possession of a controlled substance. You did not have such a substance on your immediate person nor did you have it stored under your control at some other location.
- Though you illegally possessed a controlled substance, you never had any intention to sell it. Thus, you violated HSC 11350, which criminalizes simple possession, but did not violate HSC 11351, which adds the intent to sell.
- Your violation of HSC 11351 was purely the result of police entrapment, wherein a law enforcement officer originates the intent to commit a criminal act and encourages someone to thus break the law. This would include at least an initial expressed desire on the part of the entrapped person to avoid committing the crime.
- There is simply not enough evidence to prove you are guilty of possession for sale of an illegal drug. Not all the requisite elements that the prosecutor must prove can be clearly demonstrated, and there are other counter-evidences in the defense’s favor.
Possible Penalties and Consequences
Some of the possible sentencing elements upon conviction for possession for sale charges are:
- A felony on your permanent record
- 1 year in the county jail and 3 to 5 years of probation
- A fines of up to $20,000
- Community service
- 2 to 4 years in state prison
Other consequences that may follow from a possession for sale conviction include:
- The stigma that a felony conviction brings in the community and before the law
- Loss of your right to own and carry a firearm
- Loss of voting privileges
- Loss of the ability to be part of a jury
- Disqualification from holding public office
- Forced submission of your DNA to police
- Various immigration-related consequences for non-citizens
Other offense closely related to that of possession for sale include:
- Health and Safety Code Section 11350: Simple possession of a controlled substance
- HSC Section 11352: Sale/transportation controlled substances
- HSC 11358: Cultivation of marijuana
- HSC 11359: Possession of marijuana with intent to sell
- HSC 11360: Transportation, distribution, or importation of marijuana
- HSC 11375b: Possession for sale of a “designated controlled substance”
- HSC 11377a: Possession for sale of a “non-narcotic controlled substance”
Possession for sale of a controlled substance is ineligible for deferred entries of judgment, cannot be stricken from you record at a later date, and is also ineligible for a “diversion sentence” under California Proposition-36. Those convicted of this offense must register with the state as a drug offender and keep the information on the register up to date.
Possible Immigration Consequences
For a non-citizen, there are additional consequences that may occur upon conviction for possession for sale, including:
- Barment from any relief-from-removal proceedings: Any foreign alien who, after being admitted into the United States, is convicted of violating, attempting to violate, or conspiring to violate laws related to controlled substances can be deported (Title 21, Section 802). The law violated can be federal, state, or even that of a foreign nation. The only exception is for one incident only of simple possession of a maximum of 30 grams of marijuana (8 U.S.C., Section 1127(a)(2)(B)(i)). Those the U.S. government considers to be drug addicts/abusers and those it suspects of being traffickers of a controlled substance can be deported and refused entry, no conviction being required (8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(ii)).
- The crime being classed as an aggravated felony: In regard to immigration proceedings, possession for sale is an “aggravated” felony and will probably cause deportation proceedings in immigration court to begin. Even if not deported, possession for sale ranks among various other crimes, some felonies and some misdemeanors, that can cause non-citizens to be denied many immigration benefits.
- The crime being classed as one of “moral turpitude:” Depending on the circumstances, possession for sale may be, for purposes of immigration, viewed as a crime of moral turpitude. This means that it is a crime that is “morally inexcusable” and that would “shock the conscience” of the average man. Such crimes, be they felonies or misdemeanors, will usually result in deportation and will deprive the convict of various immigration benefits.
The Importance of a Specialist Defense Attorney
When facing possession for sale charges in Long Beach, CA, or the surrounding areas, you are facing major lifelong consequences. We at the Law Office of David Givot have assembled a team of experts who specialize in defending drug trafficking and related cases. David Givot has many years of experience in serving the people of Long Beach with skilled, knowledgeable, and “never-give-up” legal defense, and with his team of expert researchers, investigators, and former prosecutors backing him up, he is always in a strong position to fight and win your case.
Going to trial with a law firm you have little confidence in is a frightening and depressing experience, but when you know that your lawyer is the best in the business, specializes in your kind of case, and has sufficient time to devote to each client, you realize that your chances of success are quite high. We at the Law Firm of David Givot have a track record of obtaining the best possible outcome for our many clients, often getting cases dismissed or sentences diminished.
Contact David J. Givot and the Legal Guardian today by calling 888-293-0396, and we can give you a free legal consultation and answer any questions you may have about your case.