Guide to Drug Trafficking Penalties

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Drug Trafficking Attorney Los Angeles- California Health and Safety Code 11352 HS

Finding an experienced attorney who specializes in drug trafficking cases is essential if you want to have the best chance at avoiding serious jail time and fines in relation to an arrest made on these grounds. Ultimately, the facts of the case will be the most important factor in determining the level of punishment served by the court, but a drug trafficking attorney who specializes in these matters can give you the best chance of obtaining minimum penalties or even having the case thrown out.

What is California Health and Safety Code section 11352? Under California Health and Safety Code section 11352, it is illegal to sell, transport, administer, furnish, or give away a controlled substance in the state.

These [controlled substances][1] include and are not limited to heroin, cocaine, opioid drugs, GHB, LSD, and specific drugs that would otherwise be available via prescription, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. Other substances such as marijuana and methamphetamines are covered under a different code altogether, and any prohibited activity in relation to these two would fall under different California legal codes.

If someone is found to be engaging in these activities, they will likely be arrested under this California Health and Safety Code section 11352. The law covers two main areas of illegal activity:

(1) Offering to Sell Controlled Substances

Agreeing to offer, sell, give away or administer a controlled substance is illegal if it can be shown that your intent was to follow through. The actual transaction doesn’t need to have yet taken place for this safety code to be enforced, nor do you need to be in possession of the drug to be held accountable. In the case of something called ‘constructive possession,’ obtaining payment upon the delivery of drugs while having arranged for someone else to carry out the actual act of selling drugs is also a crime.

(2) Transport of Controlled Substances

Carrying drugs from one location to another is the second aspect of California Health and Safety Code section 11352. It does not require the distance to be very long at all. In fact, that the movement of virtually any amount of controlled substances (specifically, what can be deemed a ‘usable’ amount) can be prosecuted under this law. This means that small amounts carried by foot, via a bicycle, or other vehicles can still be considered drug trafficking. To prosecute a crime related to the transportation of drugs requires proof that the drugs being moved would eventually be used in a sale.

Is a Drug Trafficking Offense a Misdemeanor or Felony?

Because drug trafficking is such a serious offense, more so than simple drug possession, it is most often charged as a felony. In the case where the movement of drugs occurs across state lines, charges can be brought in the federal court in addition to the ones that are brought down by an individual state.

What are the Penalties for a Drug Trafficking Charge in California?

If found guilty of selling or transporting drugs under California Health and Safety Code section 11352, a person will likely have a felony on their record and then be subject to serving a jail sentence of between 3 to 9 years as well as a fine upwards of $20,000. The penalties are severe because of how serious the state considers this type of crime to be. Having an attorney that can advocate for you will provide the best opportunity for avoiding maximum sentences and fines.

What are Aggravating Factors in a Drug Trafficking Case? Additional penalties might be put into place if aggravating circumstances occurred. This might include the transport of specific types of controlled substances (with cocaine or heroin being ones that come with their own unique penalties), sale of drugs to a minor, conducting the drug trafficking within close proximity to drug treatment facilities, or selling to individuals that are vulnerable including pregnant individuals, people who have mental disorders, and those who have previously been convicted of a felony. These aggravating factors may add to the punishments of felony probation, another 3 to 5 years in jail, and $20,000 in fines on top of the original punishments.

Drug trafficking incidents that involve aggravating circumstances can significantly increase the penalties for this already serious crime. An expert attorney who is well-versed in drug trafficking laws is the best way to fight the charges that are brought against you in the courts. The right attorney will also provide insight and negotiating ability that would otherwise be unavailable to an unrepresented defendant.

Learn How Our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help you beat a Drug Trafficking Charge

It is possible to fight a drug trafficking charge without being convicted of a felony. The right lawyer can be the difference-maker when it comes to your case. For example, if it can be shown that the original search that led to your arrest was illegal, then the case may be thrown out. There are a number of different ways that an expert attorney can attack the prosecution’s case and call into question the viability of their evidence, especially those related to procedural issues. Other common defenses for drug trafficking crimes include proving that the controlled substances that were found were not meant to be sold but rather were for personal use (which is a lesser offense) or that the police engaged in entrapment or other nonprocedural methods of obtaining evidence for an arrest. Being involved in a drug trafficking crime is an extremely serious offense that will stay on your record and could result in life-altering penalties.

It can affect your ability to find work and even impact your immigration status. An experienced lawyer who has dealt with many drug trafficking cases is an important part of ensuring you have the best defense against the charges that may be brought against you. They can help minimize the punishments that are handed down or may even be able to get the case thrown out altogether. [1]: /hiring-a-controlled-substances-attorney/

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