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Health and Safety Code 11378 Possession of Methamphetamine for Sale Laws in California- IE-Criminal Defense

H&S 11378: Possession of Methamphetamine for Sale

Legal Definition: a person who possesses for sale a controlled substance that meets any of the following criteria shall be punished by imprisonment…

To secure a conviction under HS 11378, the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Unlawful possession of methamphetamine: It is crucial to demonstrate that the defendant knowingly and unlawfully possessed the specified substance.
  2. Knowledge of presence: The prosecution needs to establish that the defendant was aware of the existence of the methamphetamine.
  3. Knowledge of the nature: It is essential to prove that the defendant had knowledge of the methamphetamine’s nature or its classification as a controlled substance.
  4. Intent to sell: The prosecution must demonstrate that at the time of possession, the defendant intended to either sell the methamphetamine themselves or facilitate its sale by another individual.
  5. Usable amount: Finally, it is imperative to establish that the controlled substance in question was in a quantity that is considered usable.

These criteria form the foundation for a successful conviction under HS 11378, providing clear guidelines for the prosecution’s case. Trust in our experienced expertise to present a thorough and authoritative argument in support of these elements.

What does this mean?

Selling within this section encompasses the exchange of methamphetamine or other controlled substances for remuneration, services, or any item of value. A usable amount implies a quantity sufficient for controlled substance utilization. It is important to note that negligible remnants or refuse do not constitute usable amounts. Conversely, a usable amount need not possess adequate quantity or potency to exert an influence on the individual.

For conviction to take place under this provision, it necessitates either explicit knowledge of the intended sale involving methamphetamine or another controlled substance, or alternative evidence that demonstrates intent. If, for instance, you genuinely believed the substance in question was Tylenol and it is subsequently revealed to be methamphetamine, it would absolve you from the risk of conviction. Furthermore, it should be stressed that this section extends beyond methamphetamine to include stimulants, party drugs, and illicit steroids, among other items. Possession can refer to both actual and constructive possession. Actual possession pertains to physically carrying the item, whereas constructive possession arises when you possess the capability to control the item, either personally or with the assistance of another individual. Consequently, it is plausible for multiple individuals to be in possession of drug paraphernalia concurrently.

The distinction between this offense and Methamphetamine Possession under HS 11377 hinges upon several determining factors, such as the quantity involved, the presence of record-keeping materials, small-scale baggies, the existence of drug paraphernalia, as well as any statements made to law enforcement indicating intent to sell. In contrast, HS 11377 simply encompasses the act of being in possession of the drug itself, without any additional stipulations.


A charge under HS 11378 is a felony offense. If you are convicted of this charge you could be sentenced to upwards of 16 months, 2 or 3 years in State Prison. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You could also be subject to a fine up to $10,000 for this charge. In addition, as a convicted felon you would never be able to own or possess a firearm for life. And if sentenced to State Prison, you would never be able to Expunge or Reduce your felony charge for life.This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a suspension or loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Court since the offense is deportable, in that it is a crime involving drugs.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. Coerced Confessions

If you happen to be in possession of methamphetamine strictly for personal use, rather than with the intention to distribute, it can be argued that you cannot be found guilty under this specific provision. However, it is important to note that simple possession can still lead to a conviction under HS 11377. In cases where law enforcement aims to establish drug sales, they rely on various pieces of circumstantial evidence. For instance, the presence of scales, baggies, receipt books, and related items, as well as statements made to the police, whether an admission or a confession, can potentially indicate involvement in an illicit drug sales operation.

Arguably, it is more logical to assert that smaller quantities of drugs are intended for personal use. Conversely, if vast amounts of methamphetamine are discovered in your possession or residence, it becomes more challenging to argue that they were solely intended for personal consumption, considering the potential lethality of such quantities. Nevertheless, in the absence of these supporting factors, some of which may not be indispensable for a conviction, your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney can potentially assert insufficiency of evidence in establishing guilt for the offense of Methamphetamine sales. Aside from the ability to challenge the case based on illegal search and seizure or other infringements of your rights, your attorney can argue that you merely possessed the drugs and were not involved in their sale.

Furthermore, a potential line of defense arises if you are a medical professional who legally sells methamphetamines in compliance with both California and federal laws.

It should also be realized that there are instances where law enforcement may employ coercive tactics to elicit confessions during intense interactions. In some cases, an individual may innocently visit a location to purchase drugs for personal use but may inadvertently become ensnared in a large-scale police operation. Consequently, you could be arrested and falsely implicated in the drug sales enterprise. The police might resort to falsehoods, manipulation, and pressure in order to extract an admission of guilt. Promises of leniency in exchange for a confession could lead to a violation, thereby enabling your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney to advocate for the exclusion of your confession in court, on the grounds that it was coerced by the police.

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Facing a charge under HS 11378 isn’t just a temporary inconvenience; it’s a potential albatross around your neck that can significantly change the course of your future. An undesirable conviction can mean a lengthy stay in State Prison, a dent on your right to bear arms, and an almost irreversible felony record. The cascading effects can ripple into your education, housing, and job prospects.

What’s more, drug convictions, even those from youthful indiscretions, can be an insurmountable hurdle if you aim to procure professional licenses in the future.

However, with every legal challenge comes a beacon of hope. Your first step in the right direction? Engaging with the right legal defense.

Our Ontario HS 11378 attorney at Inland Empire Defense is not just well-versed with the legal intricacies; they bring to the table a commendable track record of championing the causes of numerous individuals entangled in drug-related charges under HS 11378.

Don’t let a charge dictate your destiny. Reach out to an Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense Attorney at Inland Empire Defense. Dial 909-281-0456 and take the pivotal step towards safeguarding your future. And with our office right in Ontario, taking this step is even more convenient.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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