Defending Drug Sales and Distribution Charges


Possessing or transporting a controlled substance with the intent to sell or distribute is always a felony and is deemed ineligible for drug diversion. Conviction carries harsh sentences that include significant fines, forfeiture of property, mandatory imprisonment, as well as a felony criminal record.  Sentencing enhancements can also be applied if there are aggravating factors present, such as attempting to distribute a large quantity of drugs, possessing a firearm at the time, or having a prior criminal record.

We begin every case we handle by thoroughly examining the circumstances surrounding our client's arrest and the probable cause for search and seizure.  Whether our client actually possessed drugs with intent to sell or not, he or she still has a constitutional right against illegal search and seizure.  Evidence seized as a product of an illegal search would be considered "fruits from the poisonous tree."  Therefore, the evidence could be suppressed, dealing a significant blow to the prosecution's case. In some cases, a person could be arrested and charged for drug sales even though the quantity in possession falls within the range of personal use. This would occur if during law enforcement's search of our client's person or property, certain "tools of the trade" were found. These items include possessing a large number of baggies, large amount of cash, ledger, incriminating text or email messages, or digital scale.  

Health & Safety Code 11359 - Possession of marijuana with intent to sell

Possession for sale of any amount of marijuana is a felony punishable by up to 3 years in state prison and up to a $10,000 fine.  Furthermore, a violation of H&S 11359 is ineligible for drug diversion. In many cases, people are charged with possession with intent to sell marijuana even though the amount seized falls within the range of personal use.  This is due to the statute requiring intent to sell to be proven.  For example, if you were found in possession of under an ounce of marijuana with the substance individually packaged in small baggies, along with a large amount of cash and/or digital scale, you would likely be arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell.   

Medical marijuana cases

You can be arrested or cited for possession of marijuana even though you possess a valid physician's recommendation if you are not able to produce your medical marijuana prescription or recommendation at the time of police contact.  Therefore, it is extremely important that you carry your recommendation at all times while in possession of your legally prescribed marijuana.  However, you could be arrested and charged with possession for sale despite presentation of your recommendation to the police officer if evidence suggesting intent to sell is found.

Topics:  Drug Distribution, Drug Possession, Illegal Drugs

Published In: Constitutional Law Updates, Criminal Law Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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