Peter Blair | December 16, 2015 | Drug Possession
What is stated under Health & Safety Code 11351? For one, you should always know when you possess an illicit drug, you could be looking at bad news when authorities become involved. SC 11351 governs drug sale offenses in California and outlaws the possession of illegal drugs with intentions to sell them. It is a much more serious crime than just possessing narcotics, due to the fact that others become involved. Harsh penalties and fines can result if you are caught. To prove that you are guilty of this crime, prosecution will focus their efforts on proving that you had intent to sell the drugs that you possessed and not just use them for yourself (OCLI).
What makes a prosecutor change position from realizing there was probably intent to sell involved? If there are large quantities of the drug involved, packaging of the drug in separate baggies or binds, scales, lots of cash, and lots of people coming into your household, there is probably distribution going on. What are some common defenses to this crime?
If you have been charged with possession of drugs with intent to sell, then a criminal defense attorney will be able to determine what defenses may apply to your case based on your overall situation. Here are some of those popular defenses:
- Unlawful Search and Seizure: In drug cases, search and seizures are actually quite common. If illicit drugs are found in “plain view” (like a car’s dashboard after a traffic stop), the drugs can be seized and used as evidence against the defendant. However, if the drugs were found in a car’s trunk because it was yanked open with a crowbar and the suspect hadn’t given permission, then these cannot be used as evidence against them. If the Fourth Amendment rights were violated, then the drugs can’t be used at trial and charged will be dismissed.
- Drugs Belong to Someone Else: A defense attorney will make prosecutors believe with evidence that the joint found in someone’s car actually belonged to his or her client and not one of the other three passengers involved.
- Crime Lab Analysis: Something may look like a drug, but maybe it isn’t. The prosecution must prove that a seized substance is actually an illicit drug. This can be done by sending the evidence to a crime lab for analysis. Then, the crime lab analyst will testify at trial so prosecution can make their case.
- Missing Drugs: Prosecutors must be able to produce the actual drugs for which the client is being charged. If a prosecutor loses or lacks the actual risk, they end up having their case dismissed for the most part. Seized drugs will often get transferred several times before ending up in the evidence locker.
- Drugs Were Planted: If drugs were planted, this may be a difficult case to prove, as police’s testimony will carry a lot of weight in court. However, your attorney may be able to file a motion to prove your case. This will require the department to release the complaint file of the given officer containing the names and contact information of those who made the complaints. They can then be interviewed by your attorney or private investigator.
- Entrapment: Entrapment takes place when officers or informants induce a suspect to commit a crime he or she may have not committed. An informant may illegally pressure a suspect into passing drugs to a third party. Entrapment occurs where the state provides the drugs in question.
If you have a defense to possessing a drug for the action of selling it, the best step you can take is speaking to an attorney about your possible case. It can avoid a lot of time spent worrying that your claims may be denied and you could spend time in prison. Call the Law Office of Peter Blair today to find out more.