What Can be Considered a Sale of a Controlled Substance?

What Can be Considered a Sale of a Controlled Substance?

A young man and his roommate are at home in their Los Angeles County apartment when they hear a knock at the door. The young man opens the door and lets his roommate’s friend into the apartment. His roommate and friend go into his roommate’s room — they close the door, but just a few minutes later the door reopens and the friend leaves. The young man notices the friend is holding a small plastic bag that appears to contain some pills. 

When the friend leaves, the young man noticed his roommate stuffing some money bills in his pocket. The young man starts to put two and two together and realizes his roommate just sold drugs to his friend. Because of this, his roommate — and even the young man himself — might one day find themselves charged with the LA crime of Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance. 

California 11351 HS

Under California law, Health and Safety Code 11351 HS says it is a felony for anyone to possess certain controlled substances — aka drugs — with the objective of selling them. 

California 11351 HS includes not only drugs but also chemicals used to make certain drugs. These drugs and chemicals are all listed under the United States Controlled Substances Act.

Common examples of these drugs and chemicals include: 

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Hallucinogens, such as LSD and mushrooms
  • Ecstasy

In addition, California 11351 HS also covers possession with the intent to sell certain prescription drugs, such as: 

How Can I Be Convicted of Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance?

To receive a conviction under California 11351 HS, a prosecutor would have to show all of the following: 

1: You possessed the controlled substance

In regards to drug possession, a prosecutor would need to prove: 

  • You had physical possession of the controlled substances — they were found in your backpack or purse. 
  • You did not have the drugs on your physical person, but you had easy access to them, such as in your home or car. 
  • You had joint possession of the controlled substances with someone else. 

2: You knew it was a controlled substance. 

A prosecutor needs to prove you knew you were aware you had a controlled substance in your possession and that you knew what it was capable of. However, they do not have to prove that you knew the technical name of the controlled substance, how it worked, or even what it did. The prosecutor just has to show you knew you had a controlled substance in your custody. 

3: There was a large enough amount of sell. 

This is one area that can be a bit tricky. If police only found a trace amount of a controlled substance, that would not be enough to merit an intent to sell. However, even a small amount of a drug could trigger a conviction under California 11351 HS if a judge deemed it was more than a "personal use" amount and could potentially be enough to sell. 

4: There were signs of selling.

These signs could include: 

  • A large enough quantity of the controlled substance would allow for selling and was explicitly not just for personal use. 
  • You packed the controlled substance into containers, such as plastic baggies, for easy distribution. 
  • You had in your possession weighing devices such as scales. 
  • You were found to have a large amount of cash on you at the time of your arrest.
  • Neighbors reported a large number of people coming and going from your residence, who would only stay for a very short time. 

Contact an Expert Los Angeles Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance Defense Attorney

If you find yourself charged with the LA crime of Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance, you'll need a criminal defense attorney with many years of experience under the belt. The attorneys at H Law Group are the premier criminal defense law firm of Los Angeles, Irvine, Temecula, San Diego, San Jose,  Encino, and Orange County. Schedule your free consultation online or by calling us at (213) 370-0404.


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