A conviction for the offense of transportation of a controlled substance is harsher than what you would expect in simple drug possession charges. In addition to the hefty fine and the lengthy jail term you could face upon conviction, you could also be at risk of deportation if you are a non-citizen because this is a "deportable crime" under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Attorneys at Long Beach Criminal Attorney are here to help if you or your loved one is under investigation or charged with transportation of a controlled substance offense. We understand the detrimental consequences this offense's arrest or conviction can bring to your reputation.
Once you contact us, our seasoned attorneys will investigate your case details and interview eyewitnesses if necessary to build winning defenses for the best possible outcome on the alleged charge.
Legal Definition of Transportation of a Controlled Substance Offense
Health and Safety Code (HS) 11352 is the statute that makes it illegal to transport or sell or traffic or distribute particular controlled drug substances under the Controlled Substance Act. For the sake of this statute, a controlled substance is a drug, narcotic, or any other substance that has its manufacture, use, transportation, and sale regulated by the government. Some of these drugs include:
- Prescription opiates
It is important to note that other controlled drug substances like marijuana and methamphetamine do not fall under the scope of HS 11352 coverage because they are different individual laws designed for these offenses. For example, HS 11379 is the statute that makes it a crime to transport or sell methamphetamine.
In simple words, HS 11352 covers controlled drug substances that are not specifically and individually defined under other laws.
Elements in a Transportation of a Controlled Substance Charge Under HS 11352
To obtain a conviction or guilty verdict against you, the prosecution will carry the burden to convincingly prove the following elements in front of a judge or jury:
- You did transport a controlled substance
- You were aware of its presence
- You were aware of the substance's nature as a regulated or controlled substance
- The substance was in a usable amount, meaning trace amounts like drug residue do not count
- You had the intent to have the drugs sold eventually
For the sake of HS 11352, "transporting drugs" means you did move or carry them from one geographical location to the other, regardless of the distance. The means you used to transport the drugs do not matter as well. You could be guilty of HS 11352 violation if the prosecutor can prove that you did transport a controlled drug substance by:
- Means of transportation like plane, car, taxi, bus, boat
- Riding a bicycle
If the prosecution team cannot back up his/her arguments with clear and convincing evidence, you cannot be guilty under HS 11352. You need a skilled and relentless attorney in your corner at every stage of the prosecution process, especially at trial, to fight for the best attainable outcome.
An experienced attorney will know the best viable approaches to challenge and weaken the prosecutor's arguments to convince the jury or the judge to drop or reduce the alleged HS 11352 violation charge.
Viable Defenses that Can Combat The Alleged HS 11352 Violation Charge
While the circumstances and facts of your case are unique, the following common legal defenses could challenge the prosecutor's case against you for an appealing outcome:
- An act of police misconduct like racial profiling led to fabricated or "made-up" evidence
- The arresting officers violated your rights by committing an unlawful search and seizure on your person or vehicle
- The police entrapped you, meaning you did not intend to commit the alleged offense
- You were unaware of the drug's presence on your person or vehicle
- You had a valid doctor's prescription to use the controlled substance
- You were unaware that the substance was a controlled substance
With proper evidence, including eyewitness testimonies, your attorney could convince the judge to reduce or dismiss the accused charge to a less severe offense, like simple possession under HS 11350 (a). An experienced criminal attorney will know the specific winning defenses that will work out to your advantage for an appealing outcome.
Potential Penalties for Transportation for Sale of a Controlled Substance Charge
Unlike a simple possession charge, transportation of a controlled substance is a felony in the eyes of the law. Below are penalties to expect upon a conviction for HS 11352 violation at trial:
- Up to five years in the county penitentiary or up to nine years in the state prison if the judge finds you were transporting the drugs across two or more county borders
- A fine of not more than $20,000
- Felony probation
During your case's sentencing hearing, the court could consider several aggravating factors. Aggravating factors are scenarios or facts which can heighten the above standard penalties for HS 11352 violation with sentencing enhancements. For instance, the judge will add an extra year of jail time in your underlying sentence for HS 11352 violation if:
- The crime occurred near a homeless shelter or treatment facility
- The controlled drug substance you were transporting was cocaine or heroin
Similarly, if you have a prior felony drug charge conviction on your record, you could face an additional and consecutive three years in jail upon a conviction for HS 11352 violation.
Felony Probation Rules or Terms You Must Comply With Upon a Conviction for HS 11352 Violation
If you are a first-time offender and there are no aggravating factors in your case, you could qualify for a felony or formal probation instead of serving your sentence behind bars. However, you must be ready to abide by the court-set rules and terms of the probation for the required period (typically not more than five years).
While these terms and conditions could vary, depending on your unique case facts, here are common conditions that the court could require you to comply with upon a conviction for HS 11352 violation:
- Monthly meetings with your court-appointed probation officer
- Perform community service
- Submit to regular alcohol or drug testing
- Attend the court-ordered counseling or therapy sessions
- Avoid particular known associates
- Consent to periodic and random police searches during the term of your probation
- Avoid committing another new crime during the term of your probation
Remember, there could be consequences when you fail to comply with the court-set probation terms. Here is what could happen when you violate the terms and conditions of your probation:
- The court could look past your violation and reinstate the felony probation on the same conditions
- The court could modify the current conditions of your probation or parole, often adding more strict and harsher terms
- The court could revoke your formal probation, meaning you will spend the remaining sentence behind bars
If you are unsure of your requirement while on probation after receiving a guilty verdict for HS 11352 violation, you should seek clarification from your attorney. Your defense attorney can help you understand your probation requirements in a language that you can comprehend best to avoid making a mistake that can land you back in jail.
Offenses Related to HS 11352 Violation Charges
There are a few other related offenses that the prosecutor presiding over your case could submit against you instead or alongside the alleged HS 11352 violation charge, including:
Possession for Sale
HS 11351 is the statute that defines the crime of possession for sale. According to this statute, having a controlled substance in your possession with the criminal intent to sell it is illegal. Since this offense involves the same illegal drugs as HS 11352 violation charge, the prosecutor could submit or file this offense against you when his/her evidence is not enough to convict you for HS 11352 violation charge.
According to HS 11351, the offense of possession for sale is a felony, carrying the following probable penalties upon conviction:
- Up to four years of jail time
- $20,000 maximum fine
Alternatively, a reliable attorney could help you obtain felony probation and a one-year jail term. Unlike a simple possession offense, if you are guilty of HS 11351 violation, you will not qualify for a drug diversion treatment or program instead of a jail term.
Transportation or Sale of Methamphetamines "Meth"
The crime of transportation and sale of meth is defined and codified under HS 11379. While this law is similar to HS 11352, it covers different drugs, including ketamine and ecstasy. Like HS 11352 violation charge, the crime of transportation or sale of meth is chargeable and punishable as a felony. If guilty of this offense, you should anticipate the following potential punishment:
- Up to four years of detention in the state prison
- A fine not exceeding $10,000
- Felony probation
Transportation or Sale of Marijuana
Although Proposition (Prop) 64 decriminalized the recreational or personal use of marijuana, the sale of this drug is still strictly regulated, meaning you cannot sell or transport it without a valid license. HS 11360 is the law that prohibits the transportation for sale, selling, giving away, importing, or furnishing any amount of marijuana, also commonly known as pot.
Unlike HS 11352 violation charge, the offense of transportation of marijuana is chargeable as a misdemeanor. Here are the punishments you should expect if you are guilty of HS 11352 violation:
- A fine of not more than $500
- Upto six (6) months of jail time
- Misdemeanor or summary probation
Possession of Marijuana for Sale
According to HS 11359, it is a criminal offense for someone without a valid license to have a usable amount of marijuana in his/her possession with the intent to sell it. Here are indicators police officers and the prosecutor will use to determine whether or not you had the criminal intent to sell the marijuana you had in your possession:
- Whether or not your arrest occurred at a location commonly known for or associated with drug trafficking cases
- The quantity of marijuana you had in your possession. Large or "usable" amounts would give the prosecutor a reason to believe you had the intent to sell or distribute it
- Whether or not the packaging of the marijuana was in small containers or "baggies"
Typically, the charge of possession of marijuana for sale is punishable as a misdemeanor offense. If you are guilty of HS 11359 violation, your sentence will include:
- An incarceration term of not more than six months
- Up $500 fine
- Misdemeanor probation
While the offense of HS 11359 violation is a misdemeanor for most defendants, the prosecution team could file your charge as a felony if any of the following facts are true:
- You have two (2) or more past misdemeanor convictions for HS 11359 violation charge
- The marijuana you had in your possession was in connection to the sale or attempted sale to an under 18
- You have a conviction record for a violent felony, including sexually violent offenses, murder, and gross vehicular manslaughter
Having a skilled and dedicated attorney fighting for your best interests in court is the key if you want to stand a chance of obtaining the best favorable outcome on the alleged drug charge.
What to Remember Upon an Arrest for an Alleged HS 11352 Violation Charge
What you do or say immediately after an arrest can significantly impact the outcome of the alleged HS 11352 violation charge. Hence, it is wise to remember your legal rights when you are under arrest for any alleged offense. Here are some of the crucial constitutional rights to remember upon an arrest for an alleged HS 11352 violation charge:
- You have a right to remain silent
- You have a right to have an attorney on your side
- You have a right to have your case heard by a judge within forty-eight (48) hours
Find a Long Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
The truth about HS 11352 violation offense is that this charge is defensible. Our skilled attorneys at Long Beach Criminal Attorney can help you if you are under arrest or criminal investigation on suspicion that you are a culprit in a case that involves the transportation of a controlled substance.
Call us at 562-308-7807 to discuss your case details with our defense attorneys. We will assess and review your case immediately once you contact us to prepare defenses that can work out to your advantage for the best possible outcome on the alleged drug charge.