Drug crimes are quite common in California, criminalizing everything from gifting drugs to trafficking them. Unfortunately, drug crimes are also some of the most prosecuted crimes in California. Luckily, California drug laws are experiencing a lot of changes recently. In an effort to redistribute non-violent criminals from prisons to county jails and the community, certain simple drug possession for personal use charges have been lessened in severity from felonies to misdemeanors or infractions. However, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell remains a very serious charge. Selling drugs, rather than simple drug use, is still heavily prosecuted in California. More often than not, people are not caught in the actual act of selling drugs. Most people who sell drugs will conceal their actions well. Even in absence of proof you sold drugs, you can still be charged with possession with intent to sell. You may be wondering how the police can prove you had possession of drugs with intent to sell. If they do not actually witness you selling drugs, how can they convict you? This is a very good question because from a distance, it can be confusing how the prosecution builds their argument in absence of hard proof you sold someone a controlled substance. In some cases, these arguments are built unfairly so it is very important you understand this charge if you are facing it. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing possession with intent to sell charges. A skilled attorney will be able to evaluate your case and advise you on a plan of action. Since possession with intent to sell remains a very serious California drug crime, it may be well worth it to strategize a defense.
Generally, the prosecution will use evidence from your environment to demonstrate you had intent to sell. Police may look for paraphernalia or other signs that you sold drugs or had the intent to do so. Often, having any large quantity of drugs, which goes beyond what one person could use in a reasonable amount of time, can be used as evidence you had intent to sell the drugs. The standard for large quantity isn't always legally defined. For marijuana flower, the dried version of the plant, possession of less than one ounce is just an infraction that comes with a fine and nothing more. Possession of an amount larger than one ounce can indicate intent to sell so that is a more serious crime, generally charged as a misdemeanor that comes with fines and potentially jail time. For other drugs, the amount may not make a big difference if there is other evidence you had intent to sell. Supplies that a drug dealer might need to operate their business can also be used as evidence you had intent to sell, such as containers, scales, large amounts of cash or pre-weighed amounts of drugs. Keep in mind you could have some of these things in your possession for other reasons than selling drugs so it is important to challenge what evidence you feel is being unfairly used against you.
Possession with intent to sell is generally charged as a felony, punishable by 2-4 years in prison. This sentence can increase if you sell to a minor or while on school grounds. It is important to note that this law applies to all controlled substances illegally obtained or distributed, including street drugs or prescription drugs, if not provided by a license dispenser. You can face the same punishments for selling narcotic painkillers as you would selling a hard street drug. Along with the consequences handed down from the criminal justice system, you will face discrimination in the face of employment, housing and some financial assistance opportunities that exclude felony drug offenders. Possession with intent to sell a drug is a serious charge that can carry with it enormous consequences. It is also a complex charge that requires proof of your intent to sell, which can be hard to produce and when there is evidence, can be hard to challenge. Speak with a criminal defense attorney experienced in drug crime defense to discuss your case and strategize a defense against the allegations.
Are you in the Visalia or Tulare area and facing charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell? At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we know drug laws and can provide tenacious representation through out your case. Criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens has successfully represented clients in Fresno, Tulare and Kings Counties and can strategize a solid defense for your case. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss your case.