Can I Get Arrested for Selling Fake Drugs in California?

selling fake drugs in CaliforniaNot sure whether or not you can get arrested for selling fake drugs in California? The sale of imitation controlled substances is a serious offense and a growing problem both in California and nationwide. The Food and Drug Administration attributes the growing trend to increasing prescription medication costs, advanced technology, and the anonymity of the Internet.

What is an imitation controlled substance?

An imitation controlled substance can be either a pharmaceutical substance, such as painkillers, or an illegal controlled substance, such as cocaine. California Health and Safety Code 11355 defines an imitation controlled substance as any liquid, substance or material other than the substance you offered to sell. California Health and Safety Code 109575 provides two definitions of an imitation controlled substance. The first definition is:

  • A product specifically designed or manufactured
  • To resemble the physical appearance of a controlled substance
  • Which a reasonable person of ordinary knowledge could not distinguish from a controlled substance from outward appearances

The second definition of an imitation controlled substance under 109575 is:

  • A product that is not a controlled substance
  • But which, by your representations and its appearance, including:
    • Color,
    • Size,
    • Shape, or
    • Markings
  • Would lead a reasonable person to believe
  • It would have a stimulant or depressant effect
  • Similar to, or the same as,
  • A controlled substance

Is it illegal to sell an imitation controlled substance in California?

is selling fake drugs illegalThe sale or imitation controlled substances is a serious offense under both federal and state law. The federal Controlled Substances Act prohibits trafficking in counterfeit controlled substances. There are also two applicable sections of California Health and Safety Code that outline the legality of, and penalties associated with, the sale of imitation drugs. Under California Health and Safety Code 109575, it is illegal to knowingly:

  • Manufacture
  • Distribute or
  • Possess

an imitation controlled substance.

Under California Health and Safety Code 11355, it is illegal to:

  • Arrange or offer to sell, give or transport a controlled substance
  • Then deliver, or arrange to deliver, a counterfeit drug instead

Why is it illegal to sell imitation controlled substances?

Federal and state laws make the sale of imitation controlled substances illegal for two reasons. First, the laws exist to punish the fraudulent intent of selling fake drugs. Second, the laws protect consumers both from possible adverse effects of taking an unknown substance and to from overdose when the consumer takes the real drug later.

What are the penalties for selling imitation controlled substances?

Under federal law, penalties for selling imitation controlled substances include:

  • A fine between $100,000 and $10,000,000 and/or
  • Jail time ranging from one year to a lifetime in prison

Violation of California Health and Safety Code 109575 is a misdemeanor and will result in one or both of the following penalties:

  • Up to six months jail time
  • A maximum fine of $1,000

Violation of California Health and Safety Code 11355 can be punished as either a misdemeanor or a felony at the prosecutor’s discretion. Possible penalties include:

  • Misdemeanor: one year in jail
  • Felony: minimum of 16 months and maximum of three years in jail

What can I do if I am charged with selling an imitation controlled substance?

penalties for selling fake drugs in CaliforniaBecause of the serious nature of the charge, it is important to consult an attorney to advise you of your rights. There are several possible defenses your attorney may use including:

  • You were falsely accused
  • You had no knowledge that the drug was fake
  • Personal use only
  • You did not intend to mislead anyone regarding the authenticity of the drug
  • The consumer had knowledge that the drug was fake
  • The drug was not a controlled substance
  • Violation of California search and seizure laws
  • Entrapment

California Assistance

Charged with selling fake drugs in California? Contact our law firm today to speak with an experienced drug crime professional and have your case evaluated for free. Our law firm is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and serve defendants throughout Southern California.

Call (888) 250-2865 to obtain your free consultation and get help.d

  • Thomas Patterson

    law should be unless it’s flour salt or other standard food