Possession of Cocaine or Heroin with Intent to Sell – California Health & Safety Code 11351
Possession of Cocaine or Heroin with Intent to Sell – Overview
California Health and Safety Code Section 11351 makes it a felony to possess certain controlled substances with the intent to sell them. In this section, the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich wish to share with you how you can be prosecuted for possession for sale of cocaine or heroin. We will also cover possible defenses to this crime and the range of sentencing you face upon a criminal conviction for violation of HS11351. We will include some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on possession for sale of cocaine or heroin and conclude with some testimonials from previous clients.
How is Possession of Cocaine or Heroin with Intent to Sell Determined?
The distinction between a charge of simple possession of cocaine, cocaine base (“crack” cocaine) or heroin and possession with intent to sell makes all the difference on whether you qualify for Drug Diversion if you are convicted of a drug crime. To determine possession for sale, the police will look at whether there is any evidence that you intended to deal drugs. Such evidence can include any of the following:
- The drugs were individually packaged
- The presence of a scale to weigh the drugs
- The presence of large amounts of cash
- Multiple cell phones were discovered in your possession
- People frequenting your home or business
Prosecution for Possession for Sale of Cocaine or Heroin
In order to convict you for possession of cocaine or heroin with intent to sell, the prosecution must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. You are in violation of Health and Safety Code Section 11351 whenever you do all of the following:
- Possess cocaine and/or heroin; and
- Know that you possess cocaine and/or heroin; and
- Know it is a controlled substance; and
- Possess enough of these illegal drugs to sell them for use as a controlled substance, and
- Possess cocaine and/or heroin with the specific intent to sell it.
Possession with the intent to sell drugs is more serious than simple possession. If your attorney can convince the court that you possessed the cocaine or heroin only for personal use, not to sell it, you may be entitled to participate in a drug diversion program, such as PC1000 or Proposition 36. Upon successful completion of drug diversion, your charges will be dismissed. Please visit our section on Drug Diversion for more information about alternative sentencing programs.
Drug trafficking in California is also a federal offense. You can be charged with both a state and federal crime for possession for sale of cocaine, crack or heroin.
Defending a Charge of Possession of Cocaine or Heroin for Sale
An experienced California criminal defense attorney may be able to argue that some or all of the above referenced elements cannot be established beyond a reasonable doubt; therefore, you are not guilty of possession with intent to sell a controlled substance. Potential defenses to a possession for sale of either cocaine or heroin charge will depend on the facts of the case, but may include:
- Lack of intent to sell
- Unlawful search and seizure
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of possession
Sentencing and Punishment for a Charge of Possession for Sale of Cocaine or Heroin
If you are convicted of violating California Health and Safety Code Section 11351 you can be fined up to $20,000 and sent to county jail for two, three or four years. If the conviction stems from having possession of cocaine base (“crack” cocaine) for sale, you face a county jail sentence of three, four, or five years as well as a $20,000 fine (California Health and Safety Code Section 11351.5). If you are convicted of violating HS 11351, you are not eligible for diversion under PC1000, Proposition 36, or felony probation. Those options are available only if you are charged with simple possession of a controlled substance.
Additional penalties may apply if you possessed either cocaine or heroin with the intent to sell it and did so on or within 1000 feet of a school, homeless shelter, or drug treatment facility. Also, you may face consecutively imposed sentence enhancements if you sell or give away cocaine or heroin to a minor under age 18.
Likewise, a conviction for possessing or purchasing cocaine or heroin for sale is subject to additional fines up to $8,000,000 and a prison sentence enhancement up to 25 years, if the amount exceeds 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs.).
Other collateral consequences may follow a conviction for a possession for sales charge, including, but not limited to:
- Mandatory registration as a drug (“narcotic”) offender for five years;
- Up to three years of community supervision upon release from custody;
- Suspension of your driver’s license if you are between 13 and 21 years of age;
- Deportation, if you are in this country illegally;
- Loss of benefits such as food stamps, cash aid and federal student aid funding
- Difficulty getting a job
Why Do I Need to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Represent me if I’ve been Charged with Possession for Sale of Cocaine or Heroin?
If you or someone you care about is facing a charge of possession of cocaine or heroin for sale, you must contact an attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our attorneys are well versed in state and federal laws and have the skills and expertise to provide you with the best possible defense in your case.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, Torrance, Sherman Oaks, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, Victorville and West Covina, Wallin & Klarich has successfully represented thousands of clients facing drug possession for sales charges. We have over 40 years of experience in making sure that our clients are treated fairly under the law and that they receive the best legal representation through every step of the process. We will guide you through all of your options and help you win your case.
Contact us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation.We will get through this together.