Los Angeles Drug Sales Defense Lawyer
Drug possession with intent to sell is criminal offense in California when someone possesses unlawful drugs and have the intent to sell them to someone else. Under California Health & Safety Code 11351, anyone possesses for sale or purchases controlled substances for sale can be punished by up to four years in a California state prison.
There are a wide range of illicit and prescribed drugs considered a “controlled substances”, including cocaine, methamphetamine, PCP, crack, heroin, marijuana, codeine and Vicodin. If you have been charged with drug possession for sales In Los Angeles, you are facing a serious issue.
If you have been accused of committing the crime of drug sales, prosecutors will have to prove you actually intended to sell the unlawful drugs before they can secure a conviction.
In many drug sales cases, police are normally able to determine you intended to sell the drugs in your possession if you were carrying a large amount of the drugs, carrying a lot of cash, or if they observed you actually making a deal with someone else and witness the exchange of money for drugs.
Drug Possession vs. Drug Sales in California
There are distinct laws separating possession of drugs with possession with the intent to sell or selling drugs. The laws of the State of California note a variety of acts that are considered under the umbrella of selling drugs:
- Giving away a controlled substance
If you have been arrested in Los Angeles for drug sales of any kind it is imperative that you contact a Los Angeles drug crime attorney immediately. These acts are a felony punishable with severe fines and imprisonment for up to 9 years depending on the offense and the type of drug involved. Unfortunately, when sales are involved the individual is not generally allowed to exchange a treatment program for jail time.
Elements of the Crime for Drug Sales in California
After you are arrested for possession for sale of an unlawful drug under California Health & Safety Code 11351, the Los Angeles County prosecutor has the burden of proof, beyond any reasonable doubt, you had possession of the controlled substance for sale. In order to obtain a conviction, they have to prove the elements of the crimes under CALCRIM 2302:
- You had control of the unlawful drugs – Under the description in California Health & Safety Code 11351, “control” can be “actual,” “constructive,” and can be “jointly” possessed. “Actual” possession simply means you had the unlawful drug on your person. “Constructive” possession means you have access or control of the unlawful drugs even if you don’t actually possess them. For example, if you are pulled over for a traffic violation police notice in plain view what appears to be unlawful drugs in the car. “Joint” drug possession means two or more people have possession of an unlawful drugs, such as in a common area of a home.
- You had “knowledge” that the drug was a an unlawful substance. It’s not required that you know exactly what type of unlawful drug you had in your possession – just knowledge that the drug was unlawful is sufficient.
- The amount of the unlawful drugs was in sufficient quantity to sell. This means there must be enough unlawful drugs that it could be sold to other people.
- You had possession of the unlawful drug with the specific intent to sell them. It’s not required that you had a specific intent to sell the drugs yourself. If it can be proven you had a specific intent for anyone to sell the unlawful drugs, you can still be convicted under Health & Safety Code 11351. The prosecutor can prove this critical element of the crime through testimony of the arresting police officer. For example, the officer can provide information about the quantity and packaging of the unlawful drugs, along with testimony that there was no drug paraphernalia. Proving quantity of the unlawful drugs is the most important point in proving you had possession of drug with intent to sell them,.
If police seize an amount of unlawful drugs they believe is more than a drug user would possess for their own use, you will typically be charged with drug possession with intent to sell under Health & Safety Code 11351.
If the unlawful drugs were packaged in balloons or baggies – or you had a scale or a lot of empty baggies and other instruments that are used to measure drugs, then the prosecutor can easily prove the elements of the crime you had possession of drug with intent to sell.
Another way the Los Angeles County prosecutors will try to prove you intended to sell the drugs is an absence of paraphernalia, including pipes, syringes, pipes or any normal item that is commonly used to consume unlawful drugs. Possession of paraphernalia typically demonstrates personal drug use, but a lack of paraphernalia normally shows there was an intent to sell.
Retain a Los Angeles Drug Crime Lawyer
At Cron, Israels & Stark, one of our adept criminal defense lawyers will meet with you to discuss the best defense strategy for your case. Questions that will be addressed will include the arrest procedure, Fourth Amendment on searches and seizures, evidence and how it was gathered, was the warrant carried out correctly, did the authorities have proper cause for search, and any other pertinent facts that could lead to the possibility of challenging any of the evidence against you.
Every avenue will be pursued to protect your rights and obtain the most favorable outcome that can be achieved with your given circumstances. We have successfully defended clients in all Los Angeles County criminal courts.
Our firm stands ready to provide you with the expertise we have garnered after handling hundreds of case for our clients. With over 100 years of combined experience, you can count on our firm to bring you dedicated and committed legal counsel when you need it most. Contact us to review the details of your case.