Drug possession for sale, also known as drug trafficking, is a serious offense. And individuals with this charge will be facing a felony, as well as jail time, if convicted. This conviction can also affect immigration status and may result in deportation. But Simmrin Law Group is here to help.
No matter the circumstances, you should talk to a drug possession for sale defense attorney in Los Angeles. You deserve a strong legal defense that knows how to fight for you. Even with the most challenging cases, an attorney can help build a solid defense strategy.
What Counts As Drug Trafficking or Possession for Sale in California?
California law, HS 11351, makes it illegal to possess a controlled substance with the intent to sell it. This applies to almost all controlled substances except marijuana, which is charged under a different law.
You do not actually have to be caught making a sale in order to be convicted. Police can also look for signs that you intended to sell the drug, such as:
- You had large amounts of the drug in question (more than is reasonable for personal use)
- You had packaged the drug into small quantities or baggies
- You had tools that would be used to prepare the drug for individual sale, such as scales
- People were seen repeatedly coming to your house or place of business and staying for only a short time
- There are witnesses saying you sold drugs to them
Police look for these and other indicia of the intent to sell, and prosecutors use them to construct a case against you. The penalties are already tough for possessing drugs for any reason, and California law makes them even worse if there was (supposedly) the intent to sell.
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What Amount of Drugs Do You Have to Have to Be Convicted of Possession for Sale?
It is true that having a larger amount of drugs makes it more likely to be suspected of intending to sell, but you can be convicted of possession for sale even if you only had a single dose. What matters is the intent to sell it, or being caught selling it, not the amount.
There is an exception for very small doses, however. Generally, the amount of drug in your possession has to be “usable,” meaning enough for someone to actually take it. Trace amounts of a drug left in a bag don’t count, nor do residue on a pipe. Even if there is evidence you were selling, you cannot be convicted of this charge if no usable amount of the drug was found.
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What Are the Penalties for Possession for Sale in Los Angeles?
Possession for sale is treated as a felony, and carries prison time. The standard penalties can include two to four years in state prison and a fine of up to $20,000
There are cases where you can get the prison sentence waived and serve up to a year in California county jail instead. If you want to avoid prison, it’s imperative that you have a good drug possession for sale defense lawyer in Los Angeles by your side.
There are other penalties you can face for drug possession for sale, including:
- If you have prior felony convictions, you face an extra three years of prison for each past felony.
- If you had cocaine base for sale, you could face up to five years in county jail.
- If you had large amounts of heroin, cocaine or cocaine base, you face excessive prison sentences such as three, five, 10, 15, 20, or even 25 years in prison and fines up to $8 million.
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How Can Your Los Angeles Defense Attorney Fight a Possession for Sale Charge?
The burden is on the prosecutor to build a case against you. Under the law, they have to prove several facts in order to convict you. If they cannot prove each fact, you cannot be convicted. These facts include:
- You illegally possessed a controlled substance
- You knew about the presence of the substance
- You knew what the substance was (that it was an illegal/controlled substance)
- At the time that you possessed it, you intended to sell it
Additionally, they must prove that the substance is indeed the specific controlled substance in question. For example, they cannot claim that it was heroin if the substance cannot be identified.
Your L.A. drug possession for sale defense lawyer will review the prosecution’s arguments to determine the best defense strategy for your case.
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What Defenses Can Your Lawyer Use for Your Possession for Sale Case?
Because the prosecutor has to have such an elaborate case, there are many ways for your drug possession for sale defense lawyer to fight back. The best defense depends on what exactly happened. However, the strongest defenses tend to be:
- You didn’t actually possess a controlled substance. This can be argued if the drugs were never recovered or are not able to be identified.
- The drugs were strictly for personal use and not for sale.
- The drugs didn’t belong to you and they were someone else’s.
- You didn’t even know the drugs were there.
- The search that found the drugs was illegal.
- The police planted or falsified evidence.
Additionally, one very strong defense is entrapment which means that the police crossed a line and pushed you into committing a crime. Since possession for sale often involves an undercover agent or operation, how the police handled the investigation makes a big difference. You need a drug possession for sale defense attorney in L.A. to look at your case with you.
Drug Possession for Sale Can Affect Your Immigration Status
Drug possession for sale can change the defendant’s immigration status. If you are convicted, it counts as both an aggravated felony and a crime of moral turpitude. Either one is likely to trigger deportation proceedings before an immigration judge.
These punishments speak for themselves. You cannot afford to take any risks with a possession for sale charge. Speak to a lawyer.
Types of Controlled Substance Possession in California
If you are convicted of drug possession with an intent to sell in California, it’s important to know what kind of possession you were charged with so you and your attorney can best create a defense. There are three different kinds of possession under the law:
- Actual possession: Physically holding the controlled substance. You actually had the item tucked away in a pocket or are carrying it in a bag.
- Joint possession: Possession that is shared between two or more people.
- Constructive possession: This suggests the likelihood of guilt and usually relies on circumstantial evidence, such as an individual who keeps a stash in a certain location.
What a Criminal Defense Drug Attorney in Los Angeles Can Do for You
When you hire a drug possession for sale defense lawyer in Los Angeles to represent you and the charges against you, they can get to work immediately and research the facts of your case, begin an investigation, and try to negotiate a deal on your behalf with the prosecutor.
Your attorney may be able to get your bail, charges, or sentence reduced. While they represent you, they can examine witnesses, help formulate a plea, analyze the prosecutor’s case, and gather evidence. By having a criminal defense lawyer on your side, you can get legal advice on consequences of a plea, conviction, or criminal record.
Talk to a Drug Possession for Sale Defense Lawyer for Free
Don’t wait until it’s too late to get professional legal help. The sooner you talk to a lawyer, the more they can do to help you. The Simmrin Law Group offers a FREE consultation. Our team will defend you as if our own family member is the one facing the court. Fill out our online form or call us and get your free consultation today.