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Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance
California treats the sale of drugs as a serious offense. At The Law Office of Gregory H.Comings, we provide tough and experienced legal representation to people facing all types of drug offenses throughout Riverside and the surrounding Los Angeles County area. Attorney Comings appreciates the uncertainty clients feel when charged with a criminal violation, and he remains committed to providing effective and efficient defense. In California, you do not have to be caught in the act of selling drugs to be convicted of possession for sale of a controlled substance. In fact, the prosecution can rely on circumstantial evidence to show that you intended to sell the drugs. As a felony, this offense can lead to imprisonment and serve as a strike on your permanent record. For more than 19 years, Attorney Comings and his team have fought on behalf of the accused, working to favorably resolve cases and help clients move forward after facing criminal charges.
A conviction under California Health & Safety Code Section 113511 requires that the prosecution prove possession, knowledge of the presence of the substance, knowledge of the nature of the substance, intent to sell, and that the controlled substance was a usable amount. Certain drugs are considered controlled substances under California Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC. These include heroin, opiates, cocaine, unauthorized prescription medications, LSD, other hallucinogens, and peyote. Methamphetamine and marijuana sales involve a different Health and Safety Code.
Possession of the drug means that the person knowingly has control or custody of the substance. Actual possession or constructive possession satisfies the possession element of this statute. There is no requirement that the defendant physically possess a controlled substance in order to violate the statute. If the drugs are found in a place controlled by the defendant, such as the trunk of a car, their closet or safe, they will be deemed to have possession of the drugs.
Circumstantial evidence is often a central element of a possession for sale case. The presence of large quantities of drugs, or items associated with drug sales such as baggies, packaging materials, or scales can serve as evidence of possession with intent to sell. The State may rely on evidence of drug paraphernalia to support charges of possession for sale. If the defendant has large quantities of cash in their home, or there is evidence of frequent drug transactions, this can also serve as a factor supporting intent to sell.
A conviction for possession of a controlled substance for sale is a felony offense, and a strike under California’s Three Strikes system. The defendant can face up to four years in prison, and if the substance is a cocaine base, the maximum prison sentence increases to five years. There are weight enhancements for drug offenses, that can affect a prison sentence.
A conviction for possession for sale of a controlled substance requires that all elements of the crime are present. In other words, an acquittal is necessary if the defendant did not harbor the specific intent to sell the drugs, or was not in possession of the drugs for sale. In some cases, a defendant may have possessed the drugs for personal use with no intent to sell.
Often, law enforcement is motivated to arrest an individual on serious charges such as possession for sale of a controlled substance. If the police are overly aggressive during their investigation, and drugs are discovered during an illegal search or seizure, the defendant’s criminal defense attorney may file a motion to suppress the evidence. For example, if there was no probable cause, the judge may suppress the evidence and most likely the case would be dismissed.
Discussing possible defenses to charges for possession for sale of a controlled substance is important. You can receive heavy prison sentences and endure lifelong repercussions from a drug offense conviction. If you or someone close to you is facing criminal charges, Riverside criminal drug offense lawyer Gregory H. Comings can effectively defend your case. We provide a free consultation and can be reached by calling (951) 686-3457 or online.