Drug Sale & Trafficking
Drug sale and trafficking charges range depending on the type of drug, amount of drug, and other determining factors. However, an Oakland drug sale and trafficking lawyer can help raise reasonable doubt in your case to have your charges reduced or dismissed.
California Drug Sale and Trafficking Laws
The California Health and Safety Code § 11352 prohibits the sale, furnish, transport, administration, or import of specific types of controlled substances. This does not include the transport or sale of methamphetamine, marijuana, or other specific types of drugs. Under California Health and Safety Code § 11352, controlled substances could include:
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)
- Opiates and opiate derivatives
The California drug sale and trafficking statute specifically prohibits:
- The sale of drugs
- The transport of controlled substances with the intent to sell
- Giving away controlled substances
- Administering or furnishing controlled substances to others
Offenses Related to Drug Sale and Trafficking
Depending on the nature of your case, you could face multiple charges related to drug sale and trafficking.
Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell
California Health & Safety Code § 11351 is a related offense known as the possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell law. California Health and Safety Code § 11351 involves the same types of controlled substances as California Health and Safety Code § 11352.
However, California Health and Safety Code § 11351 is considered a less serious offense because there is no actual transportation or sale of drugs. Instead, it is merely the possession of drugs with the intent to sell.
Transportation or Sale of Controlled Substances Involving Minors
California Health & Safety Code § 11353 is another related offense that involves the transportation or sale of controlled substances involving minors. Under this statute, it is against the law for a person 18 years or older to use a minor to transport controlled substances.
It is also against the law to administer, furnish, sell, or offer to administer, furnish, or sell controlled substances to a minor.
Elements of Drug Sale and Trafficking
For the prosecutor to obtain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, the elements of the drug sale and trafficking statute must be met. Under California Health and Safety Code § 11352, the elements needed to convict on Oakland, CA drug sale and trafficking charges include:
- The defendant sold, furnished, administered, transported, gave away, or imported a controlled substance in California
- The defendant offered to sell, furnish, administer, transport, giveaway, or import a controlled substance in California
- The defendant knew the character or nature of the controlled substance
- If the defendant was accused of transporting for sale, the controlled substance was in a “usable amount.” This does not include trace amounts of a controlled substance like you would see with drug residue
Penalties for a Drug Sale and Trafficking Conviction
The consequences of a conviction could have a devastating impact on your life for years to come. If you are found guilty of California Health and Safety Code § 11352, the general potential penalties for a first-time offender include:
- Up to five years in county jail
- Up to nine years in county jail if you are convicted of transporting controlled substances for sale across two or more California county lines
- A maximum of $20,000 in fines
- Felony probation
Aggravating Factors That Enhance Your Sentence
The prosecution may argue that aggravating factors were present. These result in a higher sentence and include the following:
- Trafficking drugs within 1000 feet of a drug treatment center, homeless shelter, or detox facility
- The type of controlled substance was cocaine, cocaine base, or heroin
- Selling or transporting large quantities of cocaine or heroin
- Prior convictions for drug transport or sale
- Prior felony drug crime convictions
- Selling drugs to previously convicted felons, people being treated for a substance abuse or mental health issue, or someone who was pregnant
- A minor being involved
- If the drug transport or sale took place at a place of worship, within 1,000 feet of a school, or anywhere minors may regularly frequent
Sentencing Enhancements for Cocaine or Heroin
A conviction of drug transport or sale of a controlled substance containing cocaine or heroin results in the following:
- Three years when the drug weighs more than 1 kg
- Five years when the drug weighs more than 4 kg
- 10 years when the drug weighs more than 10 kg
- 15 years when the drug weighs more than 20 kg
- 20 years when the drug weighs more than 40 kg
- 25 years when the drug weighs more than 80 kg
Further, you could face an additional fine of up to $8,000,000.
When is Pretrial Diversion an Option?
Pre-trial diversion programs may be an option for first-time offenders and those charged with non-violent crimes. If the amount of the controlled substance in question is minor and no aggravating factors exist, the prosecutor may enter into a plea agreement.
Here, you could complete the terms of a pretrial diversion program to avoid harsh penalties.
You Might Not Qualify for Pretrial Diversion Programs
Not everyone qualifies for pretrial diversion programs. Aggravating factors like the ones previously stated will all be considered and could disqualify you. In that case, it’s crucial to obtain a confident criminal defense attorney.
Defending Against Drug Sale and Trafficking Charges
When you face Oakland, CA drug sale and trafficking charges and the state’s prosecutor is unwilling to work out a plea agreement, you may need to prepare a powerful defense. There are countless defense strategies that could be used depending on your case.
Here are three defenses used to fight your charges.
Illegal Search and Seizure
When the police search you or your property without a valid California search warrant, any evidence obtained during their search can be tossed out. Your attorney might also question the validity of the search and seizure in your case. Police might have exceeded the scope of the search warrant or detained you unlawfully without probable cause.
Police misconduct can take many forms. Whether entrapment, planting evidence, falsifying probable cause, the use of excessive force, or lying about the location where they found controlled substances, your drug sale and trafficking lawyer can question the officers conduct and introduce the reasonable doubt needed to obtain an acquittal.
Lack of Knowledge
When you did not know about a drug’s presence or that the item you sold or transported was considered a controlled substance, this means you lacked the intent needed to be convicted of drug trafficking or sale under California Health and Safety Code § 11352.
Contact an Oakland, CA Drug Sale and Trafficking Lawyer
Drug trafficking and sale charges can have a devastating impact on your life. A conviction could permanently alter the course of your life. Take steps to defend yourself against these accusations when you contact an Oakland, CA drug charge lawyer like Seth Morris.