July 3, 2024 By Paul Wallin

You Can Go To Prison If You Sell Marijuana To Minors – Health And Safety Code Section 11353

Facing an accusation of selling drugs to minors in California can be overwhelming and life-altering. The state has stringent laws in place to protect minors from drug-related offenses, and the consequences for those accused can be severe. Understanding these laws and knowing the steps to take if accused is crucial for anyone facing such a charge. This blog post will provide a comprehensive guide on the legal landscape regarding drug sales to minors in California and strategies for building a strong defense.

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can guide you through the legal process. Call Wallin & Klarich today toll-free at (877) 466-5245 for your free consultation with our experienced attorneys.

Understanding California’s Laws on Drug Sales to Minors

California takes a tough stance on drug-related offenses, especially when minors are involved. The laws are designed to deter adults from engaging in any activity that could expose minors to drugs. According to California Health and Safety Code Section 11353, it is illegal to sell, furnish, administer, or give away controlled substances to individuals under the age of 18.

Penalties for Violating California Health and Safety Code Section 11353

Violations of California Health and Safety Code Section 11353, which pertains to the sale or distribution of controlled substances to minors, carry severe penalties due to the serious nature of the offense. These penalties are designed to serve as a deterrent and reflect the significant harm that drug distribution to minors can cause.


A conviction under Section 11353 can result in a substantial prison sentence. Offenders may face a state prison term of three, six, or nine years, depending on the specific circumstances of the case, such as the type and amount of the controlled substance involved and any previous criminal history.


In addition to imprisonment, those found guilty of violating this section may also be subject to hefty fines. The fines can reach up to $10,000, further emphasizing the severity of the offense and its consequences.

Additional Sentencing Considerations

The court may impose enhanced penalties if the offense occurred in specific locations or under particular circumstances. For instance, if the sale or distribution took place on or near school grounds, playgrounds, or public parks, the offender could face additional sentencing enhancements. Moreover, if the accused has prior drug-related convictions, this could lead to harsher penalties as well.

Probation and Parole

In some cases, the court may grant probation or parole instead of a lengthy prison term. However, this typically involves stringent conditions, including mandatory participation in drug education and rehabilitation programs, regular drug testing, and community service. Violating the terms of probation or parole can lead to immediate imprisonment.

Impact on Juveniles

For offenders under the age of 18, violations of Section 11353 can result in adjudication in juvenile court, where the focus may be more on rehabilitation than punishment. However, in severe cases, juveniles may be tried as adults, facing the same penalties as adult offenders.

Long-Term Consequences

Beyond the immediate legal penalties, a conviction under Section 11353 can have lasting effects on an individual’s life. It can lead to difficulties in securing employment, housing, and educational opportunities. Furthermore, it can impact parental rights and the ability to maintain or obtain professional licenses.

Overall, the penalties for violating California Health and Safety Code Section 11353 underscore the state’s commitment to protecting minors from the dangers of drug distribution. Those facing such charges are strongly advised to seek our experienced legal counsel to navigate the complexities of the legal system and advocate for the best possible outcome.

Building a Strong Legal Defense

When facing accusations of selling drugs to minors, the first step is to build a robust legal defense. This process starts with understanding one’s rights and seeking expert legal representation.

Initial Steps to Take if Accused

Upon being accused, it is vital to remain calm and avoid making any statements without legal counsel present. Anything said to law enforcement can be used against the accused in court. Contacting a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is essential to ensure that the accused’s rights are protected from the outset.

Importance of Securing Legal Representation

A skilled attorney will have a deep understanding of California’s drug laws and the nuances of defending against charges involving minors. They can provide invaluable guidance on navigating the legal system, gathering evidence, and developing a defense strategy. Without professional representation, the accused may inadvertently make mistakes that could jeopardize their case.

Knowing Your Rights

Accused individuals have specific rights that must be upheld throughout the legal process. These include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to a fair trial. Understanding and exercising these rights is critical in building a defense and ensuring that the legal proceedings are conducted justly.

Key Defenses to Beat a Sale of Drugs to a Minor Charge

Successfully defending against charges of selling drugs to minors requires a thorough understanding of various legal defenses that can be employed. Each defense is tailored to the specifics of the case and the circumstances surrounding the accusation. Below are key defenses that can be utilized:

Mistaken Identity

In some cases, the accused may not have been the individual who committed the crime. This defense hinges on proving that someone else was responsible for the illegal sale. Evidence such as alibis, witness testimonies, or surveillance footage can be instrumental in establishing mistaken identity.

Coercion or Duress

If the accused was forced to sell drugs under threat of harm or due to undue pressure, coercion or duress can be a viable defense. This strategy requires demonstrating that the accused had no reasonable choice but to commit the act due to immediate threats to their safety or the safety of others.

False Accusation

It is not uncommon for individuals to be falsely accused of drug-related crimes. This defense involves proving that the allegations are baseless and may include providing evidence of ulterior motives, inconsistencies in the accuser’s statements, or lack of corroborating evidence.

Insufficient Evidence

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime. Challenging the sufficiency of the evidence can be an effective defense. This may involve scrutinizing the reliability of witness testimonies, questioning the authenticity of physical evidence, or highlighting gaps in the prosecution’s case.

Violation of Constitutional Rights

Any violation of the accused’s constitutional rights during the investigation or arrest can render the evidence inadmissible. This includes illegal search and seizure, failure to administer Miranda rights, or denial of the right to legal counsel. If constitutional violations are identified, the defense can file a motion to suppress the improperly obtained evidence.

Diversion Programs

In some instances, the defense may negotiate for the accused to enter a diversion program instead of facing trial. These programs focus on rehabilitation and education, providing an opportunity for the accused to avoid a criminal record upon successful completion. Eligibility for diversion programs varies and typically requires the consent of the prosecutor.

Employing the right defense strategy requires a comprehensive evaluation of the case by an experienced attorney. By understanding each potential defense and how it applies to their situation, accused individuals can better navigate the legal process and work towards a favorable outcome.

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today

If you are facing a sale of drugs to a minor charge, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case.

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison. We have offices in Irvine, Tustin, Pasadena, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Torrance, Victorville, West Covina, and Anaheim.
Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877)466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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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