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If you were arrested on a possession charge for the sale of a controlled substance in Los Angeles, we can help you. The charges carry severe penalties as a serious offense depending on the amount of the drug and the circumstances. 

Our Los Angeles drug crimes lawyers have a combined experience of over 50 years. Call now and request our criminal defense services through a private consultation with no obligation.

The best lawyers for possession for sale of a controlled substance in L. A., California

California prosecutors often present these cases as a misdemeanor under Proposition 47, but if the prosecution is able to demonstrate the intent to sell, you will face serious penalties.

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Our criminal defense lawyers offer quality and highly efficient legal representation. We fight for the rights of U.S. citizens and undocumented immigrants.

Being accused of possession of a controlled substance does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. The defendant’s intention to sell must first be demonstrated.

The amount of controlled substance found is key in the jury’s verdict. Furthermore, the prosecution’s argument about the “intention to sell” or distribute drugs is more plausible.   

The benefits of hiring an expert lawyer are many and their rates can be the same as those of an inexperienced. Criminal lawyers have the ability to understand how prosecutors in California think and act. 

What are controlled substances?

California Health and Safety Code 11351 – HS makes possession of certain controlled substances a crime. For example, drugs such as heroin, cocaine, heroin, amphetamine and methamphetamine, opiate ecstasy, and hallucinogens (peyote, mushrooms, LSD, DMT). 

As well as prescription pain relievers like morphine, oxycodone (Oxycontin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin). There are other controlled substances that can also fall into this category, according to California drug law. 

Prescription drug fraud in Los Angeles is a serious crime. Read our article on the site for further information.

Legal defense strategies 

Some defense strategies we offer to clients accused of possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell are:

  • Investigate and prove that the arrest procedure violated the accused’s constitutional rights. 
  • The raid was illegal or the seizure of the controlled substance was obtained through illegal means.
  • The search exceeded the scope of the order.
  • There was no intention to sell the controlled substance found in the customer’s possession.
  • The controlled substance found was for personal use. 
  • The client has a valid medical prescription to justify possession of a controlled substance.
  • The controlled substance does not belong to the customer or was not aware of its existence.

If the prosecution cannot use the evidence found in the trial, the case must be abandoned. This is why our attorneys investigate each case in detail, because it is always possible to discover errors / omissions.

From the preliminary investigation and the circumstances surrounding the fact, it is possible to identify the best defense strategy.

Possible penalties for possession of controlled substances

Penalties for possession charges of a controlled substance with intent to sell are serious. Defendants may face the following:

  • Between 2 and 4 years in prison in a county jail.
  • $ 20,000 fine.

If it is the first crime you can get a lesser sentence, probation or a single year in jail.

This probation without jail can be accomplished by giving community service and attending classes on drug abuse. 

Drug diversion program

People facing charges for simple possession of a prohibited substance with no intention of selling can make a profit. One of them is your eligibility for the drug diversion program.

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Please review our page on Los Angeles drug possession lawyers for more information on this charge.

The advantages of this program is that the beneficiary has criminal charges withdrawn after the program ends. Although, the crime of possession for sale is not eligible for the drug diversion program. 

However, if the skilled drug attorney manages to dismiss the “intent to sell” charge, it opens up a possibility. In this way, the defendant will avoid getting the crime in his criminal record.

When this is not possible, there are still other options available to clean the criminal record . 

A drug possession conviction with intent to sell can lead to deportation for a legal immigrant. 

Our cancellation of removal lawyers however are experts in handling these cases. Since they are also expert Los Angeles immigration lawyers.

Aggravating factors

If the conviction is for possession of base cocaine or heroin for sale, the penalties increase:

  • 3-5 years in prison in a county jail.
  • Fine of up to $ 20,000.

Depending on the weight of the drug or controlled substance there are additional charges:

  • 3 years for more than 1 kilogram.
  • 5 years for more than 4 kilograms.
  • 10 years if it exceeds 10 kilograms.
  • 15 years if you weigh more than 20 kilograms.
  • 20 years if it has a weight greater than 40 kilograms.
  • 25 years in prison and the controlled substance exceeds 80 kilograms.

Under any of these weight penalty enhancements, you could also pay fines of up to $ 8 million. 

If the person convicted of this offense has at least one other serious crime on their record, they can face another 3 years in prison. 

Possession of imitation controlled substances with intent to distribute

This offense established in HSC 109575 contemplates the manufacture, distribution or possession of the imitation controlled substance. The law establishes jail terms and fines: 

  • Up to 6 months in prison in a county jail or,
  • $ 1,000 fine, or
  • Jail and fine. 

Manufacturing is a topic we cover in depth in the article “Manufacturing a controlled bubstance in California“.

Possession for sale of synthetic stimulant compound

For this crime that is typified in HSC 11375.5 (a) the following penalties are imposed:

  • Up to 6 months in a county jail, or
  • Fine of up to $ 1,000, or
  • Both sanctions (fine and jail).
drug packaging for sale

Possession of marijuana for sale

The Code of Health and Safety California 11359, imposes the following sanctions for possession of cannabis for sale:

  • Up to 6 months in jail and / or 
  • Fine of up to $ 1,000.

Previously this crime in California was considered serious, but the law has been further relaxed in this regard. Now it is considered a misdemeanor, as long as the accused manages to prove that the drug is for personal use.

If you want to know more about Marijuana laws in California follow the link to our blog post.

Elements of the controlled substance possession offense in California

In a case like these, the Prosecutors must prove the following elements:  

  • Unlawful possession of the controlled substance,
  • The person was aware of the substance and its illegality.
  • Possession of the controlled substance was for sale purposes.

What is possession?

The three forms of possession are: 

  • Real possession. The person is in direct and immediate physical possession of the controlled substance. He/she brings it with him.
  • Constructive possession. The controlled substance was found in a place of personal use of the person over whom it exercises control (car, room, bag and so on).
  • Joint ownership. Another person shares possession of the substance or drug. For example, two people travel in the same car or share a room.


It means that the person had full knowledge of the existence of the controlled substance and its illegality. The elements to determine knowledge of the substance or drug with the intention of sale are:  

  • The person knew it was a controlled substance.
  • He/she was aware of the presence of the substance.
  • He/she exercised control over the drug found.

For a successful possession of controlled substance defense for sale purposes, it is not enough to deny the facts. Nor allege ignorance of the presence of the drug and its illegality to get rid of the charges.

The judge and jury will assess other elements and the strength of the allegations presented by the drug defense attorney. Here again, the criminal record and the person himself are analyzed. 

Intention to sell

  • Authorities must prove that the controlled substance was ultimately for sale. Regardless of whether the sale will be made personally or by an interposed person.
  • Establishing differentiation in the case is essential. Since a simple drug possession conviction is not the same as a drug possession with intent to sell.
  • The amount found by the police is a key element as well. It is almost impossible to claim that the controlled substance is for personal use when it exceeds a reasonable personal dose. Even more so when the drug is also accompanied by paraphernalia for sale. For example, scales, containers and others evidencing the intention to sell the controlled substance.

At the Lluis Law firm we know the complications that a conviction for this crime brings for the accused and his family.

If you face a possession charge for the sale of a controlled substance in Los Angeles, we can represent you. Talk to our Los Angeles drug trafficking attorney and let us act on your behalf.