Inland Empire Criminal Defense
Categories

Request a Free Consult

Name(Required)
Please provide as much detail as possible, case number, court date, etc.

Drug Possession and Drug Sales (HS 11350/11351) in California

California Health & Safety Code 11350(a)/11351: Drug Possession and Drug Sales

Legal Definition: HS 11350(a): Every person who possesses a controlled substance without a prescription is guilty under this section. A controlled substance includes, but is not limited to: Hydrocodone, Codeine, Morphine, Oxycodone, Heroin, Cocaine, Vicodin, Oxycontin, MDMA, Methamphetamine, LSD, Ecstasy, Molly, Mushrooms, PCP, and more.

For a person to be convicted of a violation of HS 11350(a) the prosecution must prove the following:

1. You unlawfully possessed a controlled substance;

2. You knew of its presence;

3. You knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;

4a. The controlled substance was [the type of controlled substance];

OR

4b. The controlled substance was an analog of [the type of controlled substance];

AND

5. The controlled substance was in a usable amount.

Legal Definition: HS 11351: Every person who possesses for sale, or purchases for purposes of sale, any controlled substance, is guilty under this section. A controlled substance includes, but is not limited to: Hydrocodone, Codeine, Morphine, Oxycodone, Heroin, Cocaine, Vicodin, Oxycontin, MDMA, Methamphetamine, LSD, Ecstasy, Molly, Mushrooms, PCP, and more.

For a person to be convicted of a violation of HS 11351 the prosecution must prove:

1. You unlawfully possessed a controlled substance;

2. You knew of its presence;

3. You knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;

4. When you possessed the controlled substance, you intended to sell it/that someone else sells it;

5a. The controlled substance was [the type of controlled substance];

OR

5b. The controlled substance was an analog of [the type of controlled substance];

AND

6. The controlled substance was in a usable amount.

What does this mean?

In order to prove you guilty of this crime, the Prosecution must prove that [the analog drug] is an analog of some kind of controlled substance. To be an analog of a controlled substance, it has to have a chemical structure substantially similar to the structure of a controlled substance; or, is represented as having, or is intended to have a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system substantially similar to or greater than the effect of a controlled substance.

A usable amount is a quantity that is enough to be used by someone as a controlled substance. Useless traces [or debris] are not usable amounts. On the other hand, a usable amount does not have to be enough, in either amount or strength, to affect the user. So in other words, if the amount is so small that it cannot possibly affect you, or give you the high you or someone would normally seek, but it can still be used, which is considered a usable amount.

It is also not a defense to say you did not know what substance you had on you, so long as you knew you possessed a controlled substance. A person does not have to actually hold or touch something to possess it. It is enough if the person has to control it/the right to control it, either personally or through another person.

Possession of drugs may be actual or constructive possession. Actual possession means that you have the drugs on your person or within your immediate control, like in your pocket or in the glove box of your car. Constructive possession means that you do not have the drugs on you but you have the authority to control the possession of the drugs such as having drugs stored at a friend’s house.

Penalties

If you are convicted of HS 11350(a), also known as Simple Possession, you could be sentenced to County Jail for upwards of one year. If you are convicted of HS 11351, also known as Drug Sales, you could be sentenced to State Prison for upwards of 16 months, two years, or three years. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence. Understand that these are two different charges: Simple Possession is a misdemeanor only; while Drug Sales is a straight Felony; they are not wobbler offenses, but in fact, different offenses entirely, turning on whether the drugs were for personal use, or for sales. There are also enhancements of you have for sale a much larger amount, which could lead to more custody time if convicted.
You would also be subject to likely drug programs, N/A classes, and likely having to register with your local Law Enforcement Agency as a Drug Offender. Also, a good amount of people who find themselves in this situation also face issues with Professional Licenses and Immigration issues. A conviction under 11351 specifically, is considered much more severely for Immigrationpurposes, as one of their listed offenses that leads to automatic deportation.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Mistake of Fact
  4. Violation of your Rights

The amount of drugs is also important in determining whether you are facing a Simple Possession charge or a Drug Sales charge. If there is only a small amount on you, with cash, the argument can be made that you were actually a buyer and user, and not selling the drugs to another person. Another issue is whether you even knew you had the drugs on you at all. Sometimes, at music festivals, people with drugs will slip items into your pockets, unbeknownst to you, if they think the police are following them. Then, suddenly, you’re asked if you can be searched, and you, not knowing the drugs are in your pocket, are found to be in possession of drugs.

Another common issue is Search and Seizure violations, when police illegally stop or detain you, and then perform a search of you. Remember, police cannot just choose to arrest you and search you; they need Probable Cause in order to even be bothering you to search your body. This is, of course, if you remember to never give police consent to search you or your vehicle at any time.

Call Today

In many drug-related cases, as mentioned above, the crux often lies in the amount of substance involved. It’s not uncommon for prosecutors, in their zeal, to escalate simple possession cases to drug sales charges. Over my years of practice, I have encountered numerous such instances and have consistently demonstrated that what is presumed to be a sale is often merely possession for personal use. This highlights the importance of securing a seasoned Drug Defense Attorney who is adept at protecting your rights.

At Inland Empire Criminal Defense, we are vigilant against any violation of your rights, such as unlawful police conduct including evidence planting or coerced confessions. We are committed to vigorously defending your case, aiming to demonstrate the absence of intent to sell, which can lead to a reduction of charges from HS 11351 to the less severe HS 11350. Our track record speaks for itself; we have successfully handled numerous cases involving HS 11350, HS 11351, and other significant drug offenses.

If you or your loved ones are embroiled in a drug-related legal battle, it is imperative to have an expert in your corner. Our Drug Offense Ontario criminal defense attorney is well-versed in navigating these complex legal waters. We offer a free initial consultation and are available around the clock to address your queries.

Don’t let a drug charge upend your life. Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126 for reliable and effective legal representation. Located in Ontario, CA, we are here to ensure your rights are protected and to fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Does the attorney offer confidential consultations?

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Does the attorney offer payment plans?

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Is the consultation free?

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Are the consultations in person or only over the phone?

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Is the office open on weekends?

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Does the attorney serve all of California?

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting avvo.com to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

Content is protected. Right-click function is disabled.