You may face a sentence of two to four years in jail if convicted for selling cocaine in the state of California. The courts impose longer jail terms if you are in possession of very large amounts of cocaine. For example:
- 1 kg of cocaine = 3 extra years
- 4 kg of cocaine = 5 extra years
- 10 kg of cocaine = 10 extra years
- 20 kg of cocaine = 15 extra years
- 80 kg of cocaine = 25 extra years
Additionally, you can be sent to state prison for up to 9 years if you sold cocaine in a public area, close to a school, or to a minor.
What Counts As Selling Cocaine?
You can be charged for possession with the intent to sell even if you are not caught in the act of distributing cocaine. Under California law, you can be prosecuted for the sale of cocaine simply if you have more of it than you could be using personally. Technically, you don’t have to actually sell cocaine to face this charge.
The courts can also charge you if you bagged up small portions of the cocaine, or were in possession of tools used to get the cocaine ready for sale. People visiting your house or business repeatedly and leaving after a short time may also be seen as suspicious. Finally, if someone tells the police that you sold them cocaine, you can face these charges.
What Are Other Charges Related To The Sale Of Cocaine?
Even if you only have cocaine for personal use, you may be subject to jail time in California. The state considers cocaine a controlled substance. If you have it on your person or under your control, you can face charges for drug possession. You could be sentenced to a year in jail. You might also face fines.
You can be charged for being around others who are using cocaine, if it is determined that you were helping them somehow. There are other drug related crimes that may increase your jail time. The following sentences are used in California:
- Up to 1 year in jail for renting to someone who is making or storing cocaine in your space
- Up to 1 year in jail for utilizing or making a hidden compartment for the movement of cocaine
- Up to 2-4 years in jail for having a loaded gun along with cocaine
- Up to 3-5 years in jail for having, making, or selling cocaine in a space set up to keep law enforcement out
California also punishes the possession of paraphernalia associated with the use of cocaine.
Are The Laws Different For Selling Crack Cocaine?
Crack cocaine is a more finely processed form of cocaine and may be smoked, instead of injected, inhaled, or snorted. Both forms of the substance are highly addictive, though California classifies them differently.
In addition to this difference in classification, California previously prosecuted the distribution of cocaine and crack cocaine differently. Individuals convicted of possession of crack cocaine could face double the amount of jail time. However, this changed when the Fair Sentencing Act was passed and, currently, the state passes the same charges for both forms of the drug.
What About Proposition 36?
Proposition 36 offers individuals facing charges for nonviolent drug offenses the chance to go through rehabilitation instead of facing prison time. This legal option can be used for a first or second offense. This applies to you only if you were in possession of cocaine for personal use. If you are charged with selling cocaine, you cannot make use of the rehabilitation option. Additionally, this does not apply to individuals who possessed a firearm or committed another offense unrelated to drugs.
What Can You Do If Facing Charges For Selling Cocaine?
You have several options if charged with possession with the intent to sell cocaine. You can argue that you never possessed the drug, or that the cocaine was only for your personal use. Keep in mind that California considers even tiny amounts of cocaine to be usable for sale.
A case can be made that the drugs you possessed were not yours or that you were unaware of their presence. You can also defend yourself if the police illegally conducted the search that found the drugs. Some cases have been supported by arguments that evidence was planted and not legitimate. Entrapment can also be used as a defense if you were forced into the commission of a crime by the police.
Do you need help fighting a possession with intent to sell charge? Our experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers can provide professional legal support and help you build a case before it’s too late. You can call us at 310-929-6782 or fill out our online form to get the assistance you require with a FREE consultation.