October 6, 2014 By Paul Wallin

Have You Met Tina at the Club? (Health and Safety Code 11377, 11378)

Tina at the club
These guys escorted Tina to the club.

One of the most popular television shows of the last five years was Breaking Bad. It tells the story of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with cancer. In order to provide for his family beyond his death, he decides to go into the business of cooking and selling methamphetamine. The show was an enormous success with audiences and critics alike.

Though the show’s inside look at the methamphetamine trade was groundbreaking, the drug on which the show is centered has been around for a very long time. You may have heard it called by several names: meth, crystal meth, ice, speed, rock, glass, and even “Tina” (short for Christina, which is another nickname for crystal meth).

Who Met Tina at the Club?

The effect of methamphetamine is to “speed up” the body’s nervous system, keeping the user awake and alert for longer periods of time. In the early 1900s, it was commonly used for medicinal purposes. It was used in the military during World War II to prevent fatigue, and later became popular with truck drivers, athletes, and students who used it as a way to fight off fatigue so they could be more productive.1 As society learned more about the dangerous side effects of the drug,2 and as the drug became more widely banned, the profile of users shifted to underground, recreational users, such as club-goers and motorcycle gangs.

It was not long before the federal government stepped in, classifying methamphetamine as a controlled substance, which means that its manufacture, possession and distribution are regulated by federal law under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act.3 Soon after, every state had laws making it a crime to possess, manufacture, and distribute methamphetamine.

Possession of Meth in California

possession of meth
Tina is just another word for meth.

In California, possession of methamphetamine is a crime under Health and Safety Code 11377.4 To be guilty of this crime, you must:

  • Possess methamphetamines;
  • Know that you possess them;
  • Know that the drugs are a controlled substance; and
  • Posses a quantity of the substance sufficient to be used as a drug (in other words, not just have traces of it on your person).

HS 11377 is a “wobbler,” which means that you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts of the case and your criminal history. If convicted of this offense as a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in a county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. If convicted of this offense as a felony, you face up to three years in county jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.

Possession with Intent to Sell in California

If you are charged with possession with intent to sell methamphetamines under Health and Safety Code 11378, you will be convicted of violating this law if the prosecution proves that you

  • Possessed crystal meth;
  • Knew that you possess crystal meth;
  • Knew that it is a controlled substance;
  • Possessed enough methamphetamines to sell them for consumption as a controlled substance; and
  • Possessed the drug with the specific intent to sell it.

Possession with the intent to sell meth is more serious than simple possession of the drug, and is always charged as a felony. If convicted, you face up to three years in county jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Transporting or Selling Methamphetamines

Health and Safety Code 11379 also deals with the sale of methamphetamines, but this offense involves the actual sale of the drugs, not just the intent to do so. Acts covered by this law include:

  • Selling, which can be in exchange for money, services or anything else of value;
  • Transporting of the drugs, no matter how far the distance is;
  • Giving away, providing, and/or administering methamphetamines; and
  • Offering or attempting to perform one of the above acts.

In order to prove that you are guilty of this offense, the prosecutor must prove that you

  • Engaged in at least one of the specific acts mentioned above (or attempted or offered to do so),
  • Knew of the drug’s presence and nature as a controlled substance, and
  • Transported, sold, provided, etc. enough meth (or other prohibited drug) so that it could be used as a drug.

Like HS 11378, HS 11379 is a felony offense. If you are convicted of selling or transporting under HS 11379, you will face a sentence of between two and four years in county jail and up to $10,000 in fines. If you transported the meth across two county lines, the court can increase your sentence to up to nine years.

Contact the Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

penalties of meth
There are harsh penalties for possessing or selling meth.

A charge of possession or selling methamphetamine is a serious accusation with potentially life-changing consequences. If you or someone you care about has been charged with possession of meth or any other controlled substance, you will need an experienced and aggressive attorney to help you win your case. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been successfully defending clients against drug-related charges for more than 40 years. Let us help you, too. Contact us today for a free, no obligation phone consultation.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is a Wallin & Klarich attorney experienced in drug laws near you, no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

1. [PBS Frontline, “A Social History of America’s Most Popular Drugs,” available at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/buyers/socialhistory.html]
2. [For a review of the health effects of meth, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-are-long-term-effects-methamphetamine-abuse]
3. [Title 21 United States Code (USC) Controlled Substances Act: available at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/]
4. [While this article is specifically discussing methamphetamine, this code section applies to other controlled substances as well, such as phencyclidine (PCP), gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), or anabolic steroids. The entire list of controlled substances can be found here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=hsc&group=11001-12000&file=11053-11058]

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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