Transportation for sale of a controlled substance is a serious offense in California severely punished under HSC 11352. Law enforcement officers are allocated substantial resources to assist in investigating the transportation and selling of controlled substances. If you violate this law, the offense is a felony that can earn you many years of state imprisonment.
However, the law allows any person charged with this offense to defend themselves before a verdict is reached. If you are accused of violating HSC 11352, contact The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm to represent you in court and defend you against the allegations. With an experienced attorney, you can have the charges dropped or reduced.
Understanding the Violation of HSC 11352 in California
It is critical that you first understand the offense you find yourself charged with to appreciate its severity. Before a guilty verdict is arrived at, the prosecutor must prove various elements of the offense. These elements are critical in helping you understand the crime. Similarly, your defense lawyer will also formulate defense strategies that challenge the factors to create doubt in the jurors' minds or judge.
Transporting for sale of controlled substances in violation of HSC 11352 can be defined as below:
You did any of the below things with a narcotic or controlled substance:
You furnished it, meaning you distributed it or made it available
You sold it
You gave it or gifted it away
You administered it, meaning you facilitated another person or caused them to take the drug either through injection or other means
You transported the controlled substance for sale
You imported the controlled substance into California
You availed yourself to do any of the things described above
You were aware that the drugs were there
You understood they were controlled substances
And this substance was available in an amount that is deemed usable, mainly when alleged you transported it for business
To best understand these elements, it is essential to analyze or discuss them further, as we shall do below.
Controlled Substances According to HSC 11352
According to this statute, it is a criminal offense to sell or transport for sale the following controlled substances, among others. These are:
Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)
Cocaine and any substance where cocaine is used as a base
Opiates and derivatives of opiate
Specific prescription medications such as Vicodin and codeine
For instance, Peter, a budding drug dealer, sells ecstasy and marijuana. Recently, he discovered that he could have Vicodin from various sources and sell it too. If law enforcement officers find out and he is arrested, he can face three different charges. These include charges because of ecstasy of sale according to HSC 11379, selling marijuana HSC 22360, and selling Vicodin HSC 11352.
Transportation of a Controlled Substance
If you become charged with transporting a controlled substance or narcotic, it means you facilitated its movement from one place to another. The distance the product is moved can be short or long, using various means, including bicycles, vehicles, or planes.
However, if the purpose of transporting the drugs was for personal use, the charges you face are less severe, according to HSC 11350. In this case, you will face charges for simple possession. If, on the other hand, you transported them to sell, the offense is more severely punished according to HSC 11352.
For instance, you work in a hotel, and you are used in drug transactions between your guests and the dealer. One day following a sting operation, you are apprehended as you were taking drugs to a client from the car to the hotel room. Walking with the drugs to deliver to a client intended for sale is punishable under HSC 11352. In this case, you were not the drug dealer, but you facilitated their business by moving the drugs from where they drop them to their client.
It is also critical to understand that you can only be charged with transporting drugs for sale in usable quantities. For instance, in the example above, if the police have been investigating and apprehending you after seeing you talk to a drug dealer, they can only charge you with the offense if the quantity of drugs found was usable. However, if they find traces of the drugs in your pockets, it is not enough to find you guilty of transporting narcotics for sale.
Offering or Facilitating the Sale, Transportation or Distribution of Controlled Substances
If you provided a person to sell, distribute, transport, or administer a controlled substance, you would be charged according to HSC 11352. But, to be convicted of offering or facilitating the transportation or sale of a controlled substance, the prosecutor must prove that you intended to do it when you proposed.
For instance, you want to fit in with a particular clique of people, and you throw a party at your house. You invite the people with a promise of providing drugs at the party. As you do this, you only want an opportunity to impress them with your party and be one of them, but not to provide the drugs. You devise a story that the supplier was arrested, and hence your source was terminated. The truth is you never intended to give the drugs. You only said it to impress the guests.
If one of them leaked the information and the police apprehend you, you cannot be guilty of the offense because you never planned to carry through with the plans.
The Element of Knowledge
Knowledge is a critical element in finding you guilty of violating HSC 11352. To receive a guilty verdict for transporting for sale of controlled substances, the prosecutor must show that you knew:
The drugs were present and
You understood their nature or that they were controlled substances
For instance, you visit your auntie, and as you plan to leave, she tells you she has a gift package to deliver to one of her friends on your way home. Because you trust her, you don't look into the box and instead agree to take it to the friend. Or, your auntie asks you to deliver a package to a particular shop. Out of curiosity, you ask what it is, and you peep into the package. Unfortunately, they are peyote buttons, but you have never seen them or do not know peyote is a drug.
In both cases, law enforcement officers investigating your aunt’s activities apprehend you for transporting drugs for sale. But, because you never knew what you were carrying and their nature, you are not guilty.
You receive charges and a conviction for violating HSC 11352 even when you never handled or touched the narcotics. All a prosecutor must show the court is that you had control over them, either directly or through a proxy. This is referred to as constructive possession, which is different from actual possession.
For instance, in the earlier example, your auntie does not pack or distribute the drugs herself but hires people to do it and receives the trade proceeds. In this case, she does not directly possess the drugs, but she controls the trade and everything about them. If apprehended, she will be charged with violating HSC 11352.
Building Drug Trafficking Cases
If law enforcement officers become suspicious of a drug offense taking place, they initiate investigations. Most people arrested for drug crimes are a result of sting operations. Confidential informants also assist the police in giving vital information that leads to the arrest of drug traffickers.
Unfortunately, many informants provide false information because they want leniency in charges they are facing or are receiving payments for the info. If you are arrested and charged with violating HSC 11352, an informant's information was likely vital to your arrest. If this happened, your defense attorney should file a motion asking the court to reveal the person who informed you. If the motion is granted, your lawyer can challenge the informant's credibility to create doubt in their information or testimony.
Police also often set up surveillance posts in areas they suspect trafficking of drugs is taking place. This helps them gather evidence of what is involved before they make an arrest. The police also use undercover officers to pretend to buy the drugs or need them taken to a particular place. If you agree to sell or transport the drugs to the agreed location, they will arrest you for drug trafficking.
Equally, drugs can be bought via the internet instead of the traditional way of doing things. An undercover cop can also pose as an interested buyer online, and after they gain your trust, you let your guard down and supply or sell them the drugs. If this happens, you will be found guilty of violating HSC 11352.
Penalties for Transportation for Sale of Controlled Substances According to HSC 11352
The state severely punishes any drug-related crimes, especially those that involve transporting and selling of narcotics. A violation of HSC 11352 is a felony in California. The penalties if found guilty of the offense are:
Being sentenced to formal or felony probation
Being sentenced to three, four, or five years of county imprisonment under the realignment program
Receiving a jail sentence for three, six, or nine years if you transported the drugs across two counties in California to sell
A fine not exceeding $ 20,000 in place of or in addition to the jail sentence
Although felony probation is a favorable outcome, it is not available to all, especially if:
You become convicted of selling, transporting, or accepting heroin that is 14.25 grams or over or any substance in that quantity containing heroin.
You have past convictions for violating HSC 11352 or 11351 that involve possession of narcotics and are currently found guilty of transporting or selling heroin in any amount.
You receive a conviction for trading with or facilitating the sale of cocaine, substances that have cocaine as their base, or methamphetamine. Additionally, if you have previously been convicted of selling or having any drug and are currently convicted of dealing cocaine, you cannot receive probation as a punishment.
Aggravating Factors that Enhance your Penalties
Aside from the above standard penalties, you can receive additional sentencing depending on the offense's circumstances. Some of the situations that can increase your sentence include:
Trafficking Narcotics Near Shelters for the Homeless or Treatment Facilities for Substance Abusers
If the below factors are correct, you will earn an extra year to your HSC 11352 sentence:
The substance in question was cocaine or one where cocaine is the base or heroin
The offense was carried out on the facility's ground or within a thousand feet from it
Selling or Transporting Significant Amounts of Cocaine or Heroin
If the amount you became charged for transporting and selling is significant, you will face added incarceration years. The enhancements are:
Three additional years to your standard sentence if the drug weighed a kilo or more
If the weight was above four kilograms, you earn five extra years
Ten other years when the substance was ten kilos or over
A different fifteen years for narcotics exceeding twenty kilograms
A further twenty years of imprisonment if the drugs were above forty kilos
Twenty-five years more if the narcotics were above eighty kilos
Additionally, the fine you are charged for the offense when it falls under the weight enhancements also increases. The judge can order you to pay a fine in addition to the sentence or instead of it that ranges from a million dollars to eight million dollars.
A prior conviction for violating HSC 11352 also earns you an enhanced sentence. If your past charges involved other drug crimes and not simple possession for your use, you would receive an extra three years of jail time for every prior conviction.
Selling or Availing Drugs to a Specific Group of People
Some of the harshest prison times you can receive are when the judge is convinced that you sold the controlled substances knowing you were availing or selling them to persons:
Expectant or pregnant
Had prior convictions for violent felony crimes or
Were receiving treatment for substance abuse or mental health issues
Consequences of your Conviction to your Immigration Status
Most drug-related offenses are deportable crimes according to immigration law. If you are an immigrant, you must avoid a conviction for violating HSC 11352. If you were processing your green card, you would have it denied due to this conviction. Equally, if you had attained a legal immigration status, you can still be deported when convicted.
Transporting and Selling of Drugs where Minors are Involved
Transportation for sale of a controlled substance sometimes involves minors. If law enforcement officers are suspicious that you are trafficking drugs and using children to move and sell them, you face additional and separate charges under HSC 11353.
For a guilty verdict against you, the prosecutor must prove that you are 18 years or over and either you:
Employ or engage minors below 18 years to move, sell, give, peddle or package the drugs or
You sell the drugs, administer them, or give them to the minors. Offering narcotics to children, helping them, or giving them away is also a crime.
If you are found guilty of using minors to move or sell your drugs or availing them and administering their use, you are guilty of violating HSC 11353. A guilty verdict for this offense will earn you state imprisonment for three, six, or nine years.
Additionally, your standard sentence becomes enhanced with one or two years if:
Cocaine, substances with cocaine base or heroin were involved, and
The offense happened at least a thousand feet from a school, spiritual place, or any other place that minors are likely to be present
If the age difference between you and the minor is four years or more, you earn a specific and extra state prison time of a year, two or three.
Defenses for Violating HSC 11352
Based on the above-discussed penalties, it is apparent that the offense is severely punished in California. Equally, an allegation of violating this law must be taken seriously and vigorously defended. As earlier stated, when you are arrested for transporting for sale a controlled substance, you must find an experienced criminal attorney to represent you.
Once you are arrested, the police will interrogate you trying to find out more about your operation. Avoid talking without your lawyer present or answering any question because you can incriminate yourself. It is critical to remember that failing to answer their questions does not mean you are guilty of the crime, but they can take the information you give them to their advantage and use it against you.
Your lawyer begins by understanding the charges leveled against you and studying the prosecutor's case. Your lawyer will interview the arresting officers and yourself to determine if the due procedure was followed during your defense preparation. Afterward, your lawyer will formulate defenses to argue your case, depending on the offense and arrest circumstances. Some commonly used strategies include:
Unlawful Search and Seizure
Many reported arrests for transporting and selling controlled substances in California result from illegal search and seizure. This happens when:
The police search of your property or you with no valid search warrants
When the police go beyond the search warrant's scope. For instance, when a warrant specifies a search in your car but they proceed to search your home
Illegally searching and detaining you without a reason to
If you become charged with violating HSC 11352, and the evidence was obtained illegally, your lawyer can petition the court against using it. If the motion is granted, the charges against you can be dropped for lack of sufficient evidence.
Criminal cases involving drugs are often based on falsehoods. In arresting alleged offenders, the police sometimes depend on information from their informants. Most police informants, however, give fabricated information to receive benefits from the officers. Most informants provide information in exchange for leniency or to avoid prosecution for petty crimes. Some informers also receive cash rewards if they offer information that leads to an arrest.
Because of the pressure the police put on them and their need to reap the benefits, police informants often offer misleading information. Your attorney can ask how the evidence against you was obtained to defend you in your defense best. If an informant provided the police's crucial evidence, your lawyer could petition the court to unveil the informant to question them.
Your lawyer will investigate the informant and use the information to discredit their evidence by pointing out discrepancies in the report. Your lawyer can also challenge the informant's credibility and deny any information provided by them. This can result in dismissing the allegations against you or receiving lesser charges with less harsh penalties.
Entrapment by Law Enforcement Officers
Your lawyer could use entrapment as a defense if you violated the law out of coercion. During their investigation, an officer can entice you to commit the offense, which you would otherwise not have committed. While using this defense, your lawyer must show that the officer's behavior was more than an offer or a suggestion, but it was such that you would not have refused. If the court is convinced of the evidence and the officer's misconduct, the charges are dismissed.
You had no Knowledge of the Drugs
One of the critical elements of a guilty verdict is knowledge. The prosecutor must prove that you knew of the drug's presence or their nature. If, for instance, someone gave you a package to deliver to another and did not know what it is, it is not a criminal offense. However, if the police were investigating the person and saw you carry the package and arrested you, they can charge you with violating HSC 11352.
But, your lawyer can argue that you did a favor for the person, and you never knew that you were moving drugs or that they were drugs in the first place. If the court is convinced, you are absorbed from the charges.
Find a Los Angeles Criminal Attorney Near Me
Drug crimes and their related offenses are severely punished in California. If you become accused of transporting for sale controlled substances, your best course of action would be to engage a lawyer. An experienced criminal attorney has in-depth knowledge of the legal system and knows how to defend you against the allegations. At The LA Criminal Defense Law Firm, we have represented numerous defendants faced with similar allegations and achieved favorable outcomes. Call us at 310-935-1675 to fight against the charges you are facing.