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If you are arrested for Transportation of a controlled substance for sale you may be charged with Health and Safety Code Section 11352.
Notably, while this charge usually concerns “street drugs” like Cocaine and Methamphetamine it can also apply to substances commonly thought of as medications.
The elements of this offense are:
In order for the prosecution to prove a case involving Transportation it does not need to show any intent to sell or distribute the controlled substance.
The first thing every good criminal defense attorney should do in a case involving controlled substances is to look and see whether the way in which the police realized the Defendant possessed the substance was legal under the 4th amendment. This area of criminal law is called “search and seizure” and it is very important to consider this aspect of every controlled substance case. For example, if the substance was found on the Defendant while he was driving, was he/she legally stopped by the police officer? Did the stop occur because of a legitimate traffic infraction or was it because of the Defendant’s race? Or was the stop because the officer had a hunch since the Defendant seemed out place in that particular neighborhood? If the reason for the stop/detention of the Defendant was not legal under the fourth amendment then the attorney can move to suppress the evidence because of the 4th amendment violation under Penal Code Section 1538.5. If the court grants this motion then the case can be DISMISSED. Thus it is very important for the attorney to explore this aspect of the case with the client.
Often times when the controlled substance is found under the seat of a vehicle the prosecutor will argue that the driver/owner of the vehicle must have known of the presence of the substance simply because they are the owner/driver of the vehicle and even though there were other people in the car. However, a skillful attorney can counter that argument by explaining to the court or the jury if necessary, how easy it is for a passenger to stash a controlled substance under the seat of a vehicle without the driver/owner being aware.
All Transportation charges are filed as felonies. Health and Safety Code Section 11352 carries a maximum incarceration time of 5 years; however, if the transportation involves transportation from one county to another noncontiguous county then the maximum punishment is 9 years.