Selling or Transporting a Controlled Substance – California Health & Safety Code 11352
California Health & Safety Code 11352 covers a large variety of drug-related activity. Anyone who is selling drugs, transporting drugs — even giving away drugs to other people — can be charged with a violation of HS 11352 and will be facing some serious penalties along with jail time, prison time, having to register as a narcotics offender, probation, parole — there's a whole host of different things that prosecutors and judges can punish a person who is convicted of sales of narcotics.
Sometimes it's a difficult distinction between selling narcotics and actually just possessing the narcotics. Sometimes people are doing both. They are selling the drugs in order to support a habit that they have and they're also using it.
So, there are a number of different factors that the police look at when deciding whether there is a drug sales case, and these factors are important because the difference between a sales case and a strict possession case can be huge as far as the penalties you could face and the stigma on your criminal record.
Weight of Drugs, Scales, Baggies, Weapons, Cash
They're obviously going to be looking to see if they can actually catch you selling it or transporting a huge amount of drugs. Then you'd have a pretty tough road as far as arguing against a sales charge.
But other factors that they look at are whether you have scales to weigh the drugs, whether you have a bunch of baggies to package the drugs whether you have a weapon to guard the drugs and other factors that are indicative of somebody who is selling drugs — large amounts of cash — what they call pays-and-owes slips where you've got a record of the people who owe you money related to drug transactions.
So, there's a whole slew of things that are going to be looked. Sometimes some of them are present; sometimes, there's none of them present and sometimes they're all present just depending on the circumstances of a particular drug offense.
That's why it's so crucial to get a drug crime lawyer who handles a lot of drug cases and has had a lot of success on your side because then you put yourself in a much stronger position to try to avoid possession for sales or a sales charge and get just a straight possession charge.
Obviously, if there are facts to support the argument that you're just possessing the drugs for your own personal use, versus trying to sell the drugs.
Smuggling Charges and Border Arrests
This is a big one because a lot of times, people who get arrested at the border are carrying large quantities of drugs. It doesn't make sense just to carry a few drugs across the border. Usually, the people who are doing this are the individuals who are carrying large amounts of drugs.
A lot of times, the people that are actually shipping the drugs are not the people who are benefiting the most. They're not the suppliers. They're not the people who are making the most money out of it because those people are smart enough not to risk being arrested and jailed for long periods of time because these smuggling charges at the border are so serious.
Mules to Move Drugs Across Border
They use what are called mules. People who are being paid $1,500.00 or a small amount of money to move the drugs. A lot of times, these people don't even know what they're moving. They realize they're drugs, but they don't know what kind of drugs, and it's a sad scenario when they get caught at the border for this type of behavior.
One thing I've noticed is that a lot of the federal prosecutors near the border in San Diego have what's called a fast track. They have so many drugs moving through that border that they will give people levels off their sentence if they plead quickly so they can move these cases along.
Otherwise, they would be clogged up with too many cases. A lot of people and society don't realize that. And the technology that's now available at the border is crazy.
They've got all sorts of x-ray devices that they can put a car through, and they can see hidden compartments in cars, and they can see millions of dollar worth of drugs moving through the border, and they seize millions of dollars.
Federal Drug Charges
So, drug possession and arrests at the border are very serious and are taken very seriously by the government, and a lot of times when you get arrested for these crimes, you're looking at federal charges which carry ten-year mandatory minimums; twenty-year mandatory minimums depending if you have a prior conviction related to a drug sales case
Even at the state level, if you get a new federal case, you could be looking at twenty years in custody. If you've got guns involved, you could be looking at even more time in custody.
So, if someone's going to take the risk to go through the border with drugs — and if you have a lot of drugs, you really put yourself in a bad position. There are things that could be done to help you, especially if you're a first-time offender.
You don't have any criminal record or you just have a normal job, or you were just trying to make some extra money which is a lot of people that are going through the border with drugs because they realize that these people are good people and they just got themselves tangled up into drugs to just make money and the people who are making the biggest money are not these people, but they're using these people who are in tough financial situations, have small children, have no money coming in, and they're desperate.
So, prosecutors and judges realize this, and there are things that can be done to avoid being put in a position where you get ten years in federal prison.
Fighting Drug Sales or Transporting Cases
Things that you would expect to find and defense attorneys can use to argue that it's just a straight possession case would include drug paraphernalia used for utilizing drugs, such as syringes and pipes and other instruments that can be used to smoke or inject narcotics would certainly be indicative of somebody who was a user versus a seller.
The one big argument that I see all the time is the number of drugs. The police always claim that the amount is too much for somebody who is just using it for their own personal use. And of course, they just ignore the fact that sometimes people want to get a decent-enough amount, so they don't have to keep going back and forth and risk being apprehended by law enforcement.
So, there are definitely arguments to be made when it comes to these drug cases. Fortunately, a lot of Propositions have recently passed that have benefited those individuals who get charged with drug-related offenses, especially sales, possession for sales, transportation, and even your own personal use. You really have a strong argument now to keep people out of prison.
They don't want the prisons clogged up, certainly not with drug users, and even people selling drugs would have a better argument to stay out of prison than somebody committing a violent felony.
So, you definitely have a fighting chance when it comes to these drug cases. Pick up the phone. Make the call. I'm more than happy to sit down with you and get a game plan together to protect your rights, your freedom, and your reputation.