Under California Health & Safety 11378, possession for sales of methamphetamine is a serious felony offense and therefore it is not to be taken lightly. The federal government has enacted very severe penalties on possession and trafficking of controlled substances and narcotics in recent years.
The long prison sentences that you face for these charges is steep, and you your sentence increased further based on the specific circumstances of your case. For example, if you have an extensive criminal history particularly in drug sales and a large amount of drugs are found on you, it makes for a very harsh prison sentence.
However, in order for the prosecution to convict you of possession with intent to sell methamphetamine under HS 11378, they must prove all of the following elements at trial beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Possession: Did you have physical control or the power to control the methamphetamine.
- Knowledge: Did you know or have the knowledge of the presence of the methamphetamine.
- Quantity: Did you possess an amount of methamphetamine that was more than the amount for person use and enough to infer that it was for sale;
- Intent to Sell: Did you possess or purchase the methamphetamine with the specific intent to sell it or for someone else to sell it. Evidence of intent to sell may include the quantity of the drug; how it is packaged or the existence of packaging materials (baggies) in the same location; the amount of money, scales and measuring devices found on you or near the drugs; and the absence of paraphernalia indicating personal use.
Some Defenses Include:
- Lack of Intent to Sell: Insufficient direct or indirect evidence exists to show that you had intent to sell methamphetamine;
- Entrapment: Under California law, entrapment occurs when a “normally law abiding person” is induced to commit a crime, in this case possession of methamphetamine for sale, that he or she otherwise would not have committed;
- Unlawful Search and Seizure: Law enforcement found the methamphetamine as part of an unlawful search or seizure of your person or premises under your control;
- Lack of Knowledge: You were unaware that you possessed methamphetamine. For example, another person hid or placed the drugs in your purse, handbag, bedroom, vehicle or backpack;
- Lack of Possession: You did not possess methamphetamine. For example, you were merely present while other people used methamphetamine or you only held the methamphetamine for use by another person.
Sentencing for Dealing Meth in California is harsh
- Pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 11378[i] (HS11378), the sentence for dealing of meth in California is a term of 16-months, two years, or three years in the county jail and fines totaling $10,000. You will not be eligible for drug diversion if you are facing a serious sentence for dealing meth.
- Recent changes to California’s felony sentencing laws defer certain convicted felons from being sent to state prison. Under the previous law, you would have been required to serve parole after your release. If you are sentenced to serve time in jail for a conviction of HS11378, you will not serve any parole. However, you may have to serve a period of probation following your county jail sentence for dealing meth.
Sentence for Dealing Meth to Minors
California takes a very harsh stance on furnishing illegal drugs to children under age 18. You face a much more severe punishment if you are found guilty of selling methamphetamine to a minor.
Under California Health and Safety Code 11380(a), if you are over 18 years of age and you even induce a minor to use or attempt to furnish any number of controlled narcotics including Meth to a minor you may be facing three, six, or nine years imprisonment in state prison under the following conditions:
- Sell or give, or offer to sell or give methamphetamine to a minor
- Hire, employ or use a minor to sell, prepare for sale, or peddle methamphetamine
- Induce a minor to use methamphetamine
Under California Health & Safety Code 11380.1 Employment of Minors for Unlawful Transactions—Additional Punishment.
If you are over 18 years of age and are convicted of selling or giving methamphetamine to a minor your sentence for dealing meth may be enhanced if you conduct illegal activity as follows:
- One year: on the grounds of a playground, church, youth center, day care facility or swimming pool while children are present or during business hours.
- Two years: on the grounds of or within 1000 feet of any public or private elementary, junior high, vocational or high school while children are present or during business hours.
- One, two or three years: if you are four or more years older than the minor.
These sentences for dealing meth may be imposed consecutively. This means you may have to serve these enhancement sentences one after the other and after you serve your original sentence. This enhanced methamphetamine law will also require that you serve your entire sentence for dealing meth in state prison, rather than county jail. A prison sentence will trigger community supervision or parole for up to three years.
Drug Offender Registration
Pursuant to Health and Safety Code 11590, if you are convicted of possession for sale of methamphetamine in California, mandatory drug offender registration will be imposed by the court. For the next five years after your release from custody, you must register with the local authorities where you live.
What does drug offender registration mean:
- Going into the local police or sheriff’s station within 10 days of whenever you move to register and annually register on your birthday; and
- Providing a written statement with your contact information, including your address; and
- Being fingerprinted and photographed
Additional Punishment Following a Sentence for Dealing Meth
Other than your initial arrest and jail time, you will also be facing other harsh penalties after your methamphetamine conviction.
Other consequences may follow a jail sentence and conviction for dealing meth or sentence of possession for sale of the controlled substance in California. Depending upon your case facts and circumstances, these may include:
- Deportation – If you are convicted of any California felony offense and you are in this country illegally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) has the discretion to bring deportation proceedings against you. This is especially true if you are sent to jail or prison; ICE can put a deportation “hold” on you, delaying your release.
- Suspension of Driver’s License – If you are under age 21 but over age 13 and you are convicted of a controlled substance crime, the judge will suspend your driving privilege for one year. If you are not yet legally eligible to drive, the court will order the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) to delay your driving privilege for one year subsequent from the age you become eligible to drive (California Vehicle Code 13202.5).
- Federal Charge – Many of the controlled substances are also listed on the federal controlled substances list. This means that, in addition to state charges, if convicted of possession for sale of a controlled substance, you may also face federal charges in the Federal District Court.
- Loss of Benefits – A drug-related conviction could affect your ability to receive public benefits, or welfare (California Health and Safety Code Section 11351, 11351.5). You may also be denied federal student aid funding for college. Some individuals have lost their federally subsidized Section 8 Housing Assistance.
- Inability to get licensed or hired – A felony conviction for dealing drugs may seriously damage your chances of getting a job. Many employment applications ask if you have ever been convicted of a criminal offense, particularly a felony. Felony drug charges often carry a lifetime stigma.
When you are facing substantial jail time, it is imperative that you call for an immediate Free and Confidential Consultation at Fiumara & Milligan, Law PC
Please feel free to call North Bay attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC 24/7 at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential consultation to keep you out of jail. If you call after hours, our operators will gladly connect you to one of our experienced and compassionate attorneys 24/7.
The Knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC can help explain the charges under HS 11378 and properly defend you against them.
We have over 40 years of combined criminal defense legal experience in making sure that our clients are treated fairly under the law and that they receive the best legal representation through every step of the process.
We will help guide you through all of your options and help you to win your case. Please contact us at (855) 247-3190 for a free & confidential consultation. We will be there when you call.
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