San Diego Sales and Trafficking Lawyer
The sale and trafficking of illegal substances are more serious crimes than possession. Illegally selling or trafficking drugs, including prescriptions, are felony offenses that may lead to charges at both the state and federal level. The sale of illicit substances is typically slightly less serious than trafficking, because it typically involves smaller amounts of drugs. Trafficking is more of an umbrella term for activity including manufacturing, sales, possession, and distribution. The circumstances of a case will determine if an activity should be prosecuted alone or as part of a larger drug trafficking scheme.
Penalties for Sales and Trafficking Offenses in California
Unlike other drug crimes, if you are convicted of a selling or trafficking offense, you will not be eligible for alternative sentencing programs. You will likely face imprisonment, large fines, a probation period, and have the incident recorded on your permanent record.
Before an individual is ever convicted of sales and trafficking offenses, the charges can lead to asset forfeiture. Any property the government believes was funded by drug-related proceeds can be seized and then subsequently resold or used. Unless a defendant files a claim for the property, he or she may lose ownership rights regardless of a conviction.
Extenuating factors in a case could lead to an even tougher sentence. Being arrested near drug treatment centers, crossing county lines, or persuading a minor to take part in the plan could all lead to extended prison time and steeper fines. Enhanced sentencing is always added to any existing incarceration and must be served in a prison, not in jail.
Building a Defense for Sales and Trafficking Charges
Law enforcement officials often discover sales and trafficking activity through informants, surveillance, and sting operations. If officers violate a suspect’s constitutional rights during the course of an investigation or arrest, there is a good chance that violation could be grounds to have the entire case thrown out. Your attorney may also be able to get the charges dropped if you had no knowledge of the illicit activities taking place.
Every charge of drug sales or trafficking is unique. There is no standard criminal defense that an attorney can use, but exploring different areas of the case can help your criminal defense attorney develop an argument that fits your needs so you are not unfairly punished by the court system. Getting charged with a drug sale or trafficking offense may make you feel intimidated and like there is no way out, but the right attorney can help you understand your rights and provide you the information needed to make knowledgeable decisions regarding your case.
HS11352 Drug Sale and Transportation
Prosecutors in California will often bring criminal charges of drug transportation or drug trafficking when a person is in possession of drugs in their vehicle or on their person. There is no requirement that you had an intent to sell the illicit drugs, only that you moved the controlled substance from one location to another.Transportation of any controlled substance such as marijuana, synthetic drugs, cocaine, methamphetamine is an offense that can be charged against a you.
A charge of transporting a controlled substance under HSS 11352 can be a felony or misdemeanor offense with possible jail time up to one year or a prison term of three, four or five years. To be convicted of a charge of transportation of a controlled substance the prosecutor must establish that:
- You did in fact transport the drugs some distance
- You were aware that you had possession of the drugs and that it was a controlled substance and;
- There was a useable quantity of the drug
Cases of drug trafficking and transportation can have a wide range of severe consequences depending on the type of drug being transported as well as the quantity. The prosecutors case may depend on informants, surveillance posts or the use of “buy and bust” undercover police operations.
The potential for abuse of police power and the common problem of false allegations from unreliable informants require a dedicated and experienced legal defense. There are many cases where the evidence offered by the prosecution does not sustain the charges. It is important for you to contact a criminal defense lawyer who can assemble the strongest defense to your case and aggressively preserve your rights during trial.
Investigation into the circumstances of your arrest and the police detectives involved in your case are a first step in building your defense strategy. The District Attorney who is prosecuting your case has the full resources of multiple government agencies to bring evidence and present witnesses against you. Every piece of evidence and witness needs to be closely examined and investigated at the earliest moments of your case. Waiting for arraignment on your drug transportation or trafficking case can hurt your chances of getting ahead of the prosecution and obtaining the best possible result.
One defense against this offense is your fourth amendment right against unlawful search and seizure. The most common cases of drug transportation stem from a motor vehicle stop for a traffic violation. If the police stopped your vehicle without a proper reason then you may be able to suppress or throw out any evidence collected by the police investigators. Even when you when you were lawfully pulled over the police search of your vehicle may have been improper without a warrant which is a very strong defense in any criminal defense case.
If you have any prior convictions under HS 11352 relating to the transport or sale of a controlled substance a second conviction will impose an additional prison term of multiple years.
If charged with drug transportation or trafficking you will not have the option of a drug diversion program as an alternative to a jail sentence. An experienced attorney who is familiar with local courts and prosecutors can plea bargain a serious case down to a lesser offense which will allow your enrollment in a diversion program like PC1000 or Proposition 36.
HS 11378 Possession of Methamphetamine for Sale
This drug crime is a more specific charge related to methamphetamine and the sale of a controlled substance. A defendant arrested for this crime can also expect to face a charge of 11379 for transportation of a controlled substance. The quantity of drugs involved in these cases is what often determines how a prosecutor will file. The type of packaging in which the drugs are found and other materials in a defendants possession can lead to a sales arrest.
In addition to the quantities involved police may seek to search someones phone to find sales language related to the drugs. Investigators and under cover police have years of experience dealing with street language and coded names for drug deals. Presenting evidence seized from a person’s phone in Court can be the difference between jail time and a dismissal.
Other drugs besides methamphetamine such as GHB, Ketamine and other controlled substances can also be charged with this law. Possession of any illicit drug for sale is a felony offense with a possible prison sentence.
HS 11379 Transportation of a Controlled Substance
A drug crime lawyer will typically defend a case with multiple charges where there is a large amount of drugs involved. Arrests of individuals possessing kilograms of a drug like cocaine or methamphetamine will be charged with transportation of drugs for the purpose of sale. This felony offense can involve up to four years in State prison.
Defenses to Drug Transportation and Sales
The prosecution must always show that whatever evidence was taken by police was obtained legally. Improper searches of a vehicle or home can come from illegal sources like a false tip or overreach by law enforcement. The 4th amendment protects everyone in the United States against police actions that have no reasonable basis.
Establishing the actual intent of a person found with drugs is critical in a drug crime case. Many times there are many persons in a home or vehicle. Not only must a person show intent to sell a drug there must be knowledge of the drugs existence in the car.
There are many cases that arise where a person is acting as a blind mule for another person. Transporting drugs without knowledge is not a crime. Drug transportation between county lines can add additional penalties to the already serious charge of transportation of drugs for sale.
Drug Crime Enhancements
If a defendant is found with over 1 kilogram of methamphetamine for example they will have enhanced charges brought. Drug’s in excess of 1 kilo can add 3 to 5 years to a prison sentence if found guilty. Other enhancements for drug crimes involve the use or possession of a hand gun.
In an arrest for drug possession of any kind the presence of a gun can be very serious. Even if the gun is unloaded and not working if it is combined with a controlled substance this can enhance a prison sentence by several years.
HS 12022(c) is an enhancement for any drug crime where the defendant was personally armed with a gun. The gun being loaded or unloaded does not matter. The combination of the two things creates a serious enhancement that adds several years to any prison sentence.
Possession of drugs with intent to sell is already a serious felony that can be difficult to defend. If the defendant also had a loaded weapon available to them which was able to be fired this is a separate criminal charge. HS 11370.1(a) makes it a crime to for anyone with a controlled substance to have a working firearm.
Choosing the Right Attorney
Finding the right attorney to represent you in court involves more than calling the first person you hear about and hiring him or her on the spot. Take time to have a conversation with prospective attorneys before making your decision. Remember that the choices you make today could affect the outcome of your case and your life years from now. At the Law Office of George Gedulin, we believe in giving honest advice to our clients up front.
Each client’s case is personally handled by founding attorney, George Gedulin. From the beginning, our firm is focused on getting to know the facts of the case from every angle and getting to know our clients better. A strong attorney-client relationship increases the chances of a successful outcome in court, and we believe in using every advantage we have to defend client rights. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you take charge in your drug sales or trafficking charge, reach out to us today.
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