Drug trafficking is a very serious offense with hefty jail terms and fines under California law. Read on to learn more about drug trafficking charges in California. And if you are facing drug charges, contact a Tehama County drug crimes lawyer today.
What is Drug Trafficking?
Before explaining how drug trafficking is punished in California, we should define drug trafficking. Drug trafficking refers to transporting, importing, or selling controlled substances against the law. It is considered a felony in California and is codified under California Health & Safety Code 11352. HS 11352 forbids the sale and movement of drugs by any means.
Examples of controlled substances include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines. Examples of violations of HS 11352 include selling an elderly relative’s expired pain management drugs for spending money or transporting controlled substances for a friend or romantic partner who has a drug-selling business.
Whether someone is charged with a state law violation or a federal law violation depends on several factors. If the person is transporting and selling drugs inside California and never crosses state lines, then state law applies. But if some crosses state or national lines, then federal law applies. This matters because federal law contains much harsher punishments for drug trafficking violations than California law.
Drug Trafficking Under State Law
California law punishes drug trafficking with 3 to 9 years in jail and fines up to $20,000. These penalties can be increased if aggravating factors are present: transporting more than a certain amount, selling drugs to a child, or providing drugs to pregnant people, felons, and people with mental health disorders.
California Health & Safety Code 11352 is the relevant statute here. Selling, furnishing, administering, giving away, transporting for sale, or importing drugs into California are all violations of HS 11352, as is only offering to do any of those if the offer is made with the intent to carry it out. And this includes by any means at all, whether on foot, on bicycle, or on any kind of motor vehicle. California state law then encompasses both large and small-scale drug trafficking operations. It’s also not necessary for someone to personally handle drugs in order to be guilty under this statute. It is enough to have constructive possession of the substance, in which you pay someone to obtain and transport it, then you yourself get paid once it’s delivered.
However, HS 11352 does require that the offender has knowledge of the drug’s status as a controlled substance and of the presence of the drug. Furthermore, if someone is accused of transporting the substance for sale, they must be transporting a usable amount of it to be charged. Someone cannot be charged under this statute if they are only carrying trace amounts. Moreover, convicting someone for transporting controlled substances requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant had the intent to eventually sell the drug.
Contact Us Today
If you find yourself dealing with drug charges, please do not hesitate to get in contact. Our firm has years of experience with drug charges. We will fight hard for you, so call us soon.