Drug Dealing Defense Attorneys
Except for doctors, pharmacists, and other people who are licensed by the state, it is illegal to sell or distribute controlled substances in California. It is also a crime to possess those drugs for the purpose of selling them. 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.
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 by an experienced drug dealing defense attorney. 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 he can help you, contact The Law Office of Randy Collins at 888-250-2865.
Illegal drug sales
Section 11352 of California’s Health and Safety Code imposes criminal penalties for the unlawful sale of the following drugs, among others:
- Cocaine base (crack)
- All other narcotics
The maximum sentence for violating 11352 HS is usually 5 years of imprisonment. That maximum can be increased, however, if the crime involves distribution to a minor or if it occurs in certain places (like playgrounds, schools, and public swimming pools) where minors or vulnerable people are likely to gather. A defendant’s prior record can also affect the maximum sentence.
A similar law, section 11379 of California’s Health and Safety Code, applies to the following drugs, among others:
- Certain anabolic steroids
The maximum sentence for violating 11379 HS is usually 4 years of imprisonment. The same factors that can increase a sentence under 11352 HS can also increase a sentence for selling drugs that are governed by 11379 HS.
The “sale” of a drug under these laws includes any transfer of possession of the drug, whether or not money changes hands. It is just as illegal to give the drug away as it is to sell it. “Delivery” and “distribution” are other words that describe a “sale” of drugs under California law.
Transporting a drug in order to sell it carries the same penalties as selling the drug. “Transporting” just means moving the drug from one place to another. Transporting the drug across more than two counties, however, increases the maximum sentence to 9 years of imprisonment.
Separate laws govern the sale of marijuana and of synthetic forms of marijuana. Other pages of our website discuss the defense of marijuana charges.
Possession of drugs for sale
It is illegal to possess heroin, cocaine, and the other drugs that are included in 11352 HS for the purpose of selling them. The maximum sentence for possessing those drugs for sale is usually 4 years.
It is also illegal to possess methamphetamine and the other drugs included in 11379 HS for the purpose of selling them. The maximum sentence for possessing methamphetamine for sale is usually 3 years.
Possession for sale means that the accused possessed the drugs with the intent to sell or distribute them. Possessing drugs with the intention of selling them is governed by California health and safety code 11351.
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 who have an incentive to lie so that they can 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.
Drug Dealing Defenses
- 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 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. Asserting that defense successfully takes skill, hard work, and a willingness to fight. To discuss your case with a fearless warrior for the rights of drug crime defendants, call The Law Office of Randy Collins at 888-250-2865. We represent clients in Orange and Riverside Counties, as well as Los Angeles, San Diego, and across Southern California.