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Orange County Drug Sales Lawyer

Fighting Charges for Sale of Controlled Substances in Orange County

Except for doctors, pharmacists, and other licensed by the state, it is illegal to sell or distribute controlled substances in California. It is also a crime to possess drugs to sell them. Additionally, certain controlled substances, like heroin, cannot be sold or possessed for sale by anyone.

About 134,000 felony arrests were made in 2014 for California drug crimes. Most of those arrests were related to drug dealing. A 2015 drug sweep in Orange County called “Operation Frost Bite” resulted in dozens of charges involving the sale or possession for sale of cocaine, heroin, hydrocodone, and other drugs. Communities across Southern California are seeing police agencies use aggressive tactics, including vehicle stops, search warrants, pat-downs, and undercover buys, in an effort to bolster their arrest statistics.

Facing charges for drug sales? Contact the Law Offices of Randy Collins at (844) 524-4011 to request a free consultation with our Orange County drug sales lawyers.

The counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino have been grouped together by federal and state authorities for “high intensity” law enforcement drug interdiction. As a county that borders Mexico, San Diego also receives intense scrutiny from police agencies.

If you have been caught up in a “drug sweep” or have been arrested for selling, distributing, or possessing drugs for sale, you need representation from an experienced Orange County drug sales defense lawyer. Recognized as a “top attorney” and respected by prosecutors, judges, and other criminal defense lawyers, Randy Collins fights drug dealing charges across Southern California. To learn how our Orange County drug sales lawyer can help, contact the Law Offices of Randy Collins.

California Laws on Possession of Drugs for Sale

California has a few laws prohibiting people from having a controlled substance and intending to sell it to someone else. Generally, these statutes contain the same basic elements of the offense.

To obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant:

  • Illegally had a drug in their possession;
  • Knew that the substance was on or near them;
  • Knew the drug was a controlled substance;
  • Intended to sell the substance to another; and
  • Had a usable amount of the drug

Prosecutors sometimes try to prove that the accused intended to sell the drugs by introducing evidence of past drug sales or by having witnesses testify to incriminating statements that the accused supposedly made. When that evidence comes from the mouths of drug addicts with an incentive to lie to get a reduced sentence or protect their dealer, their credibility can be attacked during a trial.

In other cases, prosecutors ask juries to assume the accused intended to sell the drugs because the quantities are larger than a typical user would keep on hand for personal use. In those cases, evidence of a heavy drug habit or a desire to minimize risk or save money by marking one large purchase instead of many small purchases can lead to a “not guilty” verdict.

What separates California’s possession of drugs for sales laws is the type of substance involved in the offense:

  • California Health and Safety Code 11351 prohibits possession for sale of:
    • Certain opiates, opium derivatives, and depressants;
    • Mescaline, peyote, and Tetrahydrocannabinols;
    • Certain Schedule II substances, such as codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, and methadone;
    • Hallucinogenic Schedule III controlled substances; and
    • Narcotic Schedule III, IV, and V drugs.
  • Pursuant to California Health and Safety Code 11351.5, it’s illegal to possess for sale substances with a cocaine base.
  • Under California Health and Safety Code 11378, a criminal charge may be levied for possessing for sale:
    • Non-narcotic Schedule III, IV, or V drugs;
    • Certain hallucinogenic Schedule I substances;
    • Gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB); and
    • Fenethylline or N-Ethylamphetamine
  • California Health and Safety Code 11378.5 makes it unlawful for a person to possess for sale phencyclidine or any analog or any precursor of phencyclidine.

California Laws on Drug Sales

A couple of California statutes prohibit people from selling drugs to others.

Specifically, the laws provide that a person commits an offense when they do any of the following with controlled substances:

  • Transport
  • Import into the state
  • Sell
  • Furnish
  • Administer
  • Give away

In cases involving drug sales, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant sold a controlled substance they knew was unlawful. Additionally, they must also demonstrate that the defendant had a useable amount of the drug.

A few of California’s laws on drug sales include the following:

  • California Health and Safety Code 11352, which prohibits people from selling:
    • Certain Schedule I opiates, opium derivatives, or depressants, as well as substances with a cocaine base;
    • Mescaline, peyote, or Tetrahydrocannabinols;
    • Certain Schedule II drugs, such as codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl;
    • Schedule III hallucinogenic controlled substances; and
    • Narcotic Schedule III, IV, or V drugs
  • California Health and Safety Code 11352.1 forbids unlawful dispensing or furnishing of prescription drugs and other controlled substances.
  • California Health and Safety Code 11379 makes it illegal to sell:
    • Non-narcotic Schedule III, IV, or V drugs;
    • Gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB);
    • Fenethylline or N-Ethylamphetamine; and
    • Certain Schedule II stimulants or depressants

Further Definitions for California’s Drug Sales Laws

Certain concepts are present in California’s statutes concerning drug sales and possession for sale.

We’ll address a few of those here:

  • Possessing: A person can be charged if they are caught with an illegal substance on them. They can also face prosecution if they can exercise control over it. This means that even if they’re not holding the drug, if it’s near them and they have the ability to take possession of it, they are engaged in unlawful conduct.
  • Selling: Selling a controlled substance does not mean that the person engaged in a transaction only involving money. It includes the exchange of services or anything else of value for a drug.
  • Transporting: A person may be accused of transporting a drug if they move it from one place to another. It doesn’t matter how short of a distance it was moved.
  • Usable amount: A usable amount includes something more than just traces of the substance. As long as a person can use the drug (regardless of whether it will affect them), selling it is illegal.

Penalties for Drug Sales in California

The punishments a court can impose depend on the offense committed.

Below are the potential penalties assessed in California drug sales cases:

  • Violations of California Health and Safety Code 11351 or 11351.5:
    • Up to 4 years in prison
  • Violations of California Health and Safety Code 11378:
    • Up to 3 years in prison
  • Violations of California Health and Safety Code 11352:
    • Up to 5 years in prison, or
    • Up to 9 years in prison if the defendant transported the substance between noncontiguous counties
  • Violations of California Health and Safety Code 11352.1:
    • First offense: Up to 1 year in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines
    • Second offense: Up to 1 year in jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines
  • Violations of California Health and Safety Code 11379:
    • Up to 4 years in prison,
    • Up to 9 years in prison if the defendant transported the substance between noncontiguous counties

In some cases, the term of imprisonment can be increased. Such situations include when the defendant sold drugs to minors in specific locations, including schools, playgrounds, daycare facilities, churches, or synagogues. Additionally, defendants with criminal histories can face enhanced sentences.

Drug Dealing Defense Strategies in Orange County

As we discussed above, one defense to a charge of “possession for sale” is that the drugs were possessed for personal use.

Other defenses to charges of selling and possession for sale include:

  • The accused did not know about the drugs.
  • The accused was hanging out with drug dealers but was not involved in drug dealing.
  • The person who accused the defendant of being a drug dealer is making a false accusation.
  • The drugs were planted.
  • The defendant was entrapped.
  • The drugs were seized illegally and cannot be used as evidence.

Other defenses may also be available, depending on the facts of the case. Asserting the right drug crime defense can lead to dismissal of the charges, acquittal at trial, or a favorable plea bargain that avoids potentially disastrous consequences.

Selecting the right defense takes knowledge and experience with our Orange County drug sales attorneys. Asserting that defense successfully takes skill, hard work, and a willingness to fight.

We represent clients in Orange and Riverside Counties, as well as Los Angeles, San Diego, and across Southern California.

To discuss your case with a fearless warrior who fights for the rights of drug crime defendants, contact our Orange County drug sales lawyer at Law Office of Randy Collins at (844) 524-4011.

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