HS 11351 – California Possession for Sale of Narcotics


Health and Safety Code 11351 governs drug sale offenses in California. Specifically it outlaws the possession of illegal drugs for the purpose of selling them. HS 11351 is a more serious crime than simply possessing narcotics, and can result in harsh penalties and fines. In addition, those charged with violating this penal code are automatically disqualified from taking advantage of alternative sentencing programs, specifically PC 1000 and Proposition 36.

Health and Safety Code 11351 Explained

Some of those charged with possession for sale in California mistakenly believe that the prosecution will need to supply ample evidence that the defendant made some type of drug transaction. This is not the case. To prove that a person is guilty of possessing illegal drugs with the intention to sell them, prosecutors will focus their efforts upon proving the defendant had intent to sell the drugs that were in his or her possession.

Possession Vs. Possession for Sale

Hss 11351 arrest in progressMore often than not, prosecutors will focus on a handful of different factors that help distinguish the difference between a defendant who is guilty of possession and one that is guilty of possession for sale. Each individual’s case is different and no two cases will be exactly the same, but the facts in your case that help determine intent are regularly used to incarcerate and defend those facing charges for 11351 HS. Whether the facts will be highlighted by the defense or the prosecution depends upon each individual’s specific circumstance and evidence obtained during the course of their investigation.

The following are factors that are regularly used to determine whether or not a person found in possession of illegal drugs was planning on selling them.

  • How Much Did You Have?
    • If you were found with a gram of Marijuana, there would have to be some pretty strange circumstances surrounding your case to convince anyone that you were intending to sell. If you were found with 100 pounds of marijuana, few juries would believe that you were storing that amount for personal use.
  • How Were the Drugs Packaged?
    • If you have cocaine stashed in a container within your nightstand, there is nothing about that type of packaging that would imply you were intending to sell it. If you have cocaine in 14 separate baggies within your nightstand, an experienced prosecutor should be able to use this information to their advantage.
  • Were There Needles, Pipes, Or Other Paraphernalia Found?
    • Under other circumstances, police officers finding your drug paraphernalia would be a bad thing, but if you are facing HS 11351 charges, they may help prove you are a user rather than a seller. Scales and other devices commonly used to weigh or calculate drugs in any way have been used to incriminate defendants.

Common Defenses Used by Defendants

hs 11351 defensesAnyone facing drug charges is advised to contact a criminal defense attorney. Regardless of whether or not you will hire one, taking advantage of a free consultation could increase your chances of success.

Although each alleged 11351 HS violation is very different and will require a tailor-made defense strategy, there are legal defenses that are regularly used to help defend those charged with this offense. The following have successfully been used by California defendants to help obtain case dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and mistrials:

  • Police violated my rights through an illegal search
    • It’s more common than most would like to admit: police officers will sometimes break laws during the course of a criminal investigation. When this happens, there are opportunities for defendants to have the evidence obtained against them be deemed inadmissible. If the evidence obtained during an illegal search is the only thing that prosecutors have that incriminates you, you may be able to avoid a conviction.
  • I had no idea that what was in my possession was illegal drugs
    • This can be very difficult to prove, but it has been done. There are circumstances where this actually happens. If you thought that you were in possession of something other than drugs and have some type of evidence to support that claim, you could potentially be found not guilty.

Possible Penalties for HS 11351 Violations

consequences for 11351 violationsThose found guilty of violating health and safety code 11351 will have a felony offense on their criminal record. Maximum penalties for this offense include four years in state prison and a $20,000 fine. If prosecutors have evidence that you intended to participate in multiple sale transactions, these penalties can be ordered for each intended transaction. You will not be able to take advantage of court ordered drug diversion programs due to your charge.

California Possession for Sale Defense

Those facing drug sale crimes are encouraged to contact my law firm, the Law Offices of Randy Collins, for a free case evaluation. I obtained a not guilty verdict for a drug sale client who confessed to his arresting officers. Despite his confession, he was found not guilty for possession for sale of methamphetamine and heroin. Call 888-250-2865 to speak with one of our skilled legal professionals about your possible defense options.