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Sales and Transportation of Drugs

California HSC Code §11352 establishes the crime of the sale or transportation of illegal substances. In order to obtain a conviction for the sale or transportation of illegal substances the Prosecution must prove the following elements to a jury:

  • The Defendant engaged in any of the conduct listed below as it relates to a controlled substance:
    • The Defendant sold the illegal substance to another individual
    • The Defendant gave the illegal substance to another individual
    • The Defendant administered, or caused to be administered, and illegal substance to another individual
    • The Defendant move the illegal substance with the purpose of selling it to another individual
    • The Defendant moved the illegal substance into CaliforniaThe Defendant offered to do any of the acts listed in this section
  • The Defendant was aware that the illegal substance was present
  • The defendant knew that the substance was a controlled substance
  • In the event that the Defendant is charged with transportation with intent to sell, the Prosecution must also prove that there was a usable amount of that controlled substance

The Prosecution must prove every element of the crime of drug transportation or sale beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction against the accused. This requirement is set forth in the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. Since the Prosecution bears a substantial burden, it is a common strategy to simply negate one or more of the elements the Prosecution is tasked with proving. Los Angeles Criminal lawyer has decades of combined experience representing clients accused of all manners of criminal conduct; including drug transportation or sale. As a result of their years of experience LACL has become one of the best criminal defense firms around, and have developed a deep understanding of criminal law. LACL prides itself on their exceptional service to their clients. Part of providing excellent service to our clients requires that we keep them informed of all aspects of their case. The remainder of this article will discuss: (1) the elements of drug transportation and sale, (2) the consequences associated with a conviction for drug transportation and sale; and (3) what Los Angeles Criminal lawyer can do to assist you if you are accused of drug possession.

Controlled Substance

A “controlled substance” is any drug or chemical whose use, manufacture, or possession is restricted by the federal “Controlled Substances Act.”

The “Controlled Substances Act” identifies a number of substances including:

  • LSD;
  • Heroin
  • Vicodin
  • Opiates
  • Codeine
  • Cocaine
  • Peyote
  • Oxycotin

Knowledge

The Prosecution must show that you had actual knowledge that the substance was in your actual possession or constructive possession. Further, the Prosecution must show that you also knew that the substance was a controlled substance. Thus, if someone slipped an illegal substance into your vehicle without your knowledge, you cannot be found to have committed the crime of drug possession. Further, even if you knew a substance was present, but you did not know the substance was a controlled substance, you also cannot be convicted of drug transportation or sale.

What Does “Transporting Controlled Substances” Mean?

Transportation does not require a vehicle or any particular method of transportation, it simply requires that the Defendant take the illegal substance, and move that substance to another location.

In addition to proving that the defendant knew of the presence of the illegal substance, the Prosecution must also prove that the Defendant had the ultimate intent to sell the substance after he transported it. This is a difficult element to prove as it requires a showing of the defendant’s subjective thoughts. While a skilled attorney may be able to defeat the transportation charges, it is likely that the Prosecution would then seek a simple possession charge against the Defendant.

As it is probably clear at this point, the crime of transportation and sale is simply an enhanced version of a drug possession charge. Thus, if the Prosecution is seeking a conviction of transportation for sale, they must prove that there was a sufficient quantity of the illegal substance to use. This is typically how the prosecution will prove intent to sell as well. If the Prosecution shows that the defendant transported an illegal substance in a quantity well above what a single person would use, they can infer intent to sell.

Constructive Possession

To be convicted of transportation or sale of a drug, the Prosecution must show that you had possession of the illegal substance. Possession can either be actual or constructive. Constructive possession occurs when the Defendant has the item on his person or in his immediate vicinity. Constructive possession occurs when the illegal substance is in a location that the Defendant has control over.

Penalties for Transportation or Sale of Drugs

The crime of transporting or selling a controlled substance is a felony in California, and there are a wide range of punishments the Court may impose on a Defendant who has been convicted of his first drug crime:

  • probation
  • 3,4, or 5 years of imprisonment pursuant to the California Realignment Program;
  • 3,6, or 9 years of imprisonment in the event the prosecution is able to prove the defendant transported the substance over 2 or more county lines in California;
  • A fine of up to $20,000

If the Prosecution can prove any of the following facts, a convicted Defendant will not be eligible for a suspended sentence or probation:

  • The Defendant was attempting to sell, or did sell 14.25g or more of heroin.
  • The Defendant sold any quantity of heroin and had 1 or more convictions for transporting drugs for sale, or possessing drugs for sale.
  • The Defendant was convicted for the sale or attempted sale, or cocaine, or meth, and the defendant has a prior conviction for the sale or attempted sale of any drug

Aggravating Factors

Transporting for sale near treatment centers or shelters for the homeless

If the Prosecution can prove the following facts, you will be incarcerated for an additional year:

  • The Defendant was transporting heroin or cocaine
  • The Defendant attempted to sell, or actually sold the heroin or cocaine within 1,000 feet of drug treatment center, a detox facility, or a homeless shelter.

Substantial Quantities of Cocaine or Heroin

If you were transporting a substantial amount of cocaine or heroin, you will face a significant fine ranging from $1M to $8M as well as enhanced prison time.

  • If you were convicted of transporting heroin or cocaine for sale, and the amount you were transporting was transporting above 1 kg, you will face an additional 3 years in prison.
  • If you were convicted of transporting heroin or cocaine for sale, and the amount you were transporting was transporting above 4 kg, you will face an additional 5 years in prison.
  • If you were convicted of transporting heroin or cocaine for sale, and the amount you were transporting was transporting above 10 kg, you will face an additional 10 years in prison.
  • If you were transporting above 20 kg, you will face an additional fifteen (15) years in incarceration.
  • If you were convicted of transporting heroin or cocaine for sale, and the amount you were transporting was transporting above 40 kg, you will face an additional 20 years in prison.
  • If you were convicted of transporting heroin or cocaine for sale, and the amount you were transporting was transporting above 80 kg, you will face an additional 25years in prison.

Prior Convictions

If the Defendant has been convicted of a felony previously, excluding felonies involving drugs not for sale, they will receive an enhancement of 3 additional years per previous felony conviction in prison.

Are There Immigration Consequences for a Conviction?

Transportation and sale is known as a “deportable offense.” Thus, if you have been convicted of felony corporal injury and you are an immigrant in the United States, there is a risk that you will be deported as a result of that conviction. If you are an immigrant and have been accused of transportation and sale, it is essential that you contact Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer immediately Our attorneys will fight vigorously to protect our rights, and your status in the United States. LACL has represented thousands of clients, and understand the frightening nature of facing deportation. LACL will fight to obtain the best possible outcome possible.

Selling or Transporting Drugs Involving a Minor

If the Defendant is convicted of transportation and sale, and the intended recipient of those drugs is a minor, California law imposes a stiffer penalty.

In order to trigger the enhanced penalties, the Prosecution must prove either of the following:

    1. The Defendant utilized the services of a minor to sell, give away for free, peddle, or prepare for sale;
    2. The Defendant attempted to provide an illegal substance to a minor.

If the Defendant is convicted of transportation or sale involving a minor, they will face incarceration in state prison for a period of 3 to 9 years. Further, the defendant will face an additional 2 years if the prosecution can prove either of the following facts:

  1. The substance the Defendant was transporting or selling while a minor was involved consisted of heroin or cocaine; OR
  2. The Defendant attempted to sell or transport an illegal substance while a minor was involved and was within 1,000 feet of a location where minors are usually located

If the Defendant is 4 years older or more than the minor they involved in the transportation or sale of illegal substances, the Defendant will face an addition 1 to 3 years in prison.

What Legal Defenses Can My LACL Attorney Put Forward in My Case?

The crime of drug transportation and sale is a felony . Regardless of the nature of the charge, a conviction will appear on your criminal background check. Employers routinely investigate the criminal backgrounds of applicants for positions with their company in order to reduce the number of applicants they must consider. Employers are generally hesitant to hire individuals with criminal history.

Finally, the crime of transportation and sale of an illegal substance is known as a “deportable offense.” This means if you are an immigrant, you may be deported if convicted .

In light of the consequences associated with a conviction, it is important to obtain skilled legal counsel to avoid a conviction, or obtain a favorable outcome despite a conviction. Los Angeles Criminal lawyer will fight to keep the charges from being brought against you, have the charges against you reduced, and enroll you in a diversion program to avoid a conviction on your record, or obtain a reduced sentence for you.

At trial your LACL attorney will raise a number of defenses on your behalf including:

  • Violation of the defendant’s Constitutional Rights
  • Improper police procedure
  • Entrapment
  • The Defendant was unaware of the presence of the substance
  • The Defendant was unaware of the nature of the substance
  • The Defendant did not intend to sell the substance
  • Insufficient quantity
  • Duress

If you or a loved one has been accused of drug transportation or sale, contact Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer at 310-502-1314 today for a FREE consultation.

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