Sale of a Controlled Substance

California has stringent laws prohibiting the sale or transportation of illegal controlled substances. The purpose of these laws is to decrease unlawful drug trafficking that occurs across the U.S. While most drug-related laws have relatively minor penalties in California, trafficking a controlled substance is automatically a felony and carries a lengthy prison sentence upon conviction.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for drug trafficking or selling a controlled substance, then it’s imperative you seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The penalties for selling a controlled substance are life-changing upon conviction. Plus, if you’re convicted, you’ll have a felony on your criminal record. You may be denied opportunities for employment, housing, professional licensing, or a federal loan.

Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer in Ventura County, CA

Selling or transporting a controlled substance could land you in some serious hot water. That is why we highly encourage you to seek legal representation if you’ve been arrested for drug trafficking or any other drug-related offense. For experienced legal representation, we recommend you look no further than Jay Leiderman Law.

Jay Leiderman of Jay Leiderman Law has not one, but two decades of experience with a heavy focus in criminal law. He understands what it takes to build a formidable defense that can undermine the prosecution’s argument. To schedule your first consultation, call Jay Leiderman Law at (805) 654-0200. Jay Leiderman Law accepts clients throughout the greater Ventura County and Santa Barbara County including Ventura, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Moorpark, Somis, Ojai, Simi Valley, Fillmore, Port Hueneme, Solvang, Montecito, Lompoc, Goleta, Los Olivos, and Buellton.

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What is Considered Drug Trafficking in California?

You’ve probably heard the term “drug trafficking” on the late-night news or on TV programs and know what it is. However, the state of California has a specific definition for drug trafficking. This definition can be found under the Health and Safety Code Section 11352, which states a person is guilty of drug trafficking if they:

  • Sell a controlled substance to someone else
  • Furnish it by sale or otherwise to another person
  • Give it away to another person
  • Transport it for a type of sale
  • Import the substance into California
  • Administered the drug for another person whether that’s by injection or other means

Drugs under the statute includes, but is not limited to opiates, cocaine, heroin, Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), and unlawfully obtained prescription medications such as Vicodin or Xanax.

It’s important you know some key definitions in order to have a complete understanding of drug trafficking laws in California. The term “transporting” refers to carrying or moving drugs from one location to another. Even if the distance is relatively short, it’s still considered transporting. For example, you are “transporting drugs” if you ride a bicycle down a mile to deliver a controlled substance.

To be accused of transporting drugs, you must have had some sort of intent to sell said substances eventually. If your intent wasn’t to sell, then you’ll be charged with simple drug possession instead.


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How Many Years Do You Get for Drug Trafficking in California?

The state of California takes drug trafficking cases very seriously, which is why the crime carries such serious penalties. Drug trafficking in any sense is automatically classified as a felony under California law. The maximum penalties for a first-time offense includes:

  • Up to 3, 4, or 5 years in county jail under California’s realignment program
  • Felony or formal probation
  • A fine of up to $20,0000

Please note, if you transported the substance across two or more county lines your jail sentence will be enhanced to 3, 6, or 9 years. You will not be eligible for probation or a suspended sentence of any kind if any of the following is true.

  • You were convicted of offering/selling cocaine, cocaine base, or methamphetamines and you have a prior drug conviction
  • You were convicted of offering/selling any amount of heroin and have a prior conviction for sale of a controlled substance or possession of a controlled substance for sale
  • You were convicted of offering/selling 14.25 grams of a substance containing heroin

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Factors That Could Aggravate Your Sentence

California is very stringent when it comes to drug traffickers. If certain aggravating factors exist during the commission of the crime, then the judge may enhance your sentence. One of these factors include selling drugs near or at drug treatment facilities or homeless shelters. If your crime occurred near or at one of these establishments, you’ll face an additional year in jail as long as the following are true:

  • The substance sold was or involved heroin, cocaine, or a cocaine base; and
  • The offense took place on the grounds of or within 1,000 feet of a homeless shelter, drug treatment center, or “detox” facility

Sale and transportation of a large quantity of heroin or cocaine will also result in an elevated jail sentence. If you are convicted for selling a substance containing heroin, cocaine, or a cocaine base in the following amounts, you’ll face an additional jail sentence of:

  • 25 years if the substance was more than 80 kilograms
  • 20 years if the substance weighed more than 40 kilograms
  • 15 years if the controlled substance was more than 20 kilograms
  • 10 years if you had more than 10 kilograms
  • 5 years if there was more than 4 kilograms
  • 3 years if you sold a substance weighing more than 1 kilogram

In addition to the penalties above, you’ll also be required to pay a fee to the court ranging from 1 million ($1,000,000) to 8 million dollars ($8,000,000).

Having a prior conviction is also an aggravating factor that could influence your jail sentence. If you have at least one prior felony drug conviction (for anything other than personal use), then you’ll be sentenced to an additional 3 consecutive years in jail for each separate conviction.


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Additional Resources

California Laws on Drugs – Visit the official website for California’s Legislation to learn more about their laws regarding selling drugs. Access the site to learn what drug trafficking is defined under the law, the penalties for trafficking drugs, and other comparable offenses.

2019 National Drug Threat Assessment | DEA – Visit the official website for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to review the yearly National Drug Assessment from 2019. Access the document to read what drugs are the biggest threat to society both domestically and internationally. View the document to learn statistics for heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, marijuana, new psychoactive substances, and other drugs in both the United States and around the world.


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Sale of a Controlled Substance Defense Attorney in Ventura, CA

If you or someone you know has been arrested for selling a controlled substance, we urge you to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Jay Leiderman of Jay Leiderman Law has years of experience he can utilize for your case. Call Jay Leiderman Law today to set up your first consultation free of charge.

Jay Leiderman Law accepts clients throughout the greater Ventura County, Santa Barbara County and Van Nuys area.


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