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If you were arrested on a charge of Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance in Los Angeles, we can help. These charges carry severe penalties as they are considered a felony depending on the amount of drug and the circumstances. 

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

The Best Lawyers For Possession For Sale Of A Controlled Substance In Los Angeles, California

California prosecutors typically file these cases as a Proposition 47 misdemeanor , but if prosecutors can prove intent to sell, they will face serious penalties.

lawyers specialized in criminal defense

Our criminal lawyers in Los Angeles offer quality and highly efficient legal representation. We fight for your rights, whether you are a US citizen or an undocumented immigrant.

Being charged with possession of a controlled substance does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. The intent to sell by the accused must first be demonstrated. The amount of controlled substance found is key in the jury’s verdict. The higher the amount, the more credible the prosecution’s argument about the intent to sell or distribute drugs.   

What Are Controlled Substances?

California Health and Safety Code 11351 – HS makes it a crime to possess certain controlled substances. For example, drugs such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and methamphetamine, opium, ecstasy, synthetic marijuana, and hallucinogens (peyote, mushrooms, LSD, DMT). 

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

Prescription drug fraud in Los Angeles is a felony that we have covered on the web.

Legal Defense Strategies 

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

  • Investigation and prove that the arrest procedure violated constitutional rights of the accused. 
  • The search was unlawful or the seizure of the controlled substance was obtained through unlawful means.
  • The search exceeded the scope of the order.
  • There was no intent to sell the controlled substance found in the possession of the client.
  • The controlled substance found was for personal use. 
  • The client has a valid medical prescription to justify possession of a controlled substance.
  • The drug does not belong to the client or they were not aware of its existence.
possession for sale of a controlled substance in Los Angeles

If the prosecution cannot use the evidence found at trial, it has to drop the case. This is why our attorneys thoroughly investigate each case they take on, because it is always possible to discover errors/omissions.

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

Possible Penalties For Possession Of Controlled Substances

The penalties for charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell are severe. Defendants may face the following:

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

If it is the first offense, you can get a lesser sentence, probation or a single year in jail. But this won’t be the case if is something recurring and the charge falls under the California three strikes law.

Parole can be achieved by performing community service and attending drug abuse classes. 

Note: California law may establish a separate sentence for each sale the defendant attempted to make.

What Are The Terms Of Probation?

When a defendant receives formal parole and is assigned a parole officer, the court imposes terms of compliance. Such terms or conditions include: 

  • Staying out of trouble and don’t break the law.
  • Frequent visits to the probation officer, as established in the sentence.
  • Perform community service.
  • Submit to random drug testing.

If the convict violates the conditions of probation, they will receive an additional sanction. The court may sentence you to the maximum jail term imposed by law for the crime of possession for sale of a controlled substance in Los Angeles.

Drug Diversion Program

People charged with simple possession of a prohibited substance with no intent to sell can get benefits. One of them is your eligibility for the drug diversion program.

Review our page on Los Angeles drug possession lawyers for further information on this charge.

The advantage of this program is that the beneficiary will have criminal charges cleared, upon completion of the program. Although, the offense of possession for sale is not eligible for the drug diversion program. 

However, if the skilled drug attorney gets the “intent to sell” charge dismissed, it opens up a possibility. In this way, the defendant will avoid the review of the crime in their criminal record.

how to clean a criminal record

When it is not possible, there are other options available to clean criminal records. A conviction for drug possession with intent to sell can lead to deportation for a legal immigrant.

Our cancellation of removal lawyers, however, are experts handling these cases as they are also skilled immigration lawyers in LA.

Aggravating Factors

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

  • 3 to 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 in prison for more than 1 kilogram.
  • 5 years for more than 4 kilograms.
  • 10 years if it exceeds 10 kilograms.
  • 15 years for over 20 kilograms.
  • 20 years for over 40 kilograms.
  • 25 years in prison if the controlled substance exceeds 80 kilograms.

Under any of these penalty-per-weight enhancements, you could also pay fines of up to $8 million. If the individual convicted of this offense has at least one other felony on their record, they may face another 3 years in prison. 

Possession Of Imitation Controlled Substance With Intent To Distribute

This crime typified in HSC 109575 contemplates the manufacture, distribution or possession of the imitation controlled substance. The law establishes the following sanctions: 

  • Up to 6 months imprisonment 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 Substance in California ”.

Possession For Sale Of Synthetic Stimulant Compound

For this crime, which 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).

Possession Of Marijuana For Sale

California Health and Safety Code 11359, imposes the following penalties 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 a felony, but the law has become more gentle in this regard. It is now considered a misdemeanor, as long as the defendant can prove that the drug is for personal use.

Marijuana laws in California

If you want to know more about Marijuana Laws in California check our blog.

Elements Of The Crime Of Possession Of Controlled Substance With Intent To Sell In California

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

  • Unlawful possession of the controlled substance.
  • The person had knowledge of the substance and its illegality.
  • The possession of the controlled substance was for the purpose of sale.

What Is Possession?

Possession means that the defendant has had direct and immediate control over the controlled substance.

The three forms of possession are: 

  • Actual possession. The person is in direct and immediate physical possession of the controlled substance. They carry it.
  • Constructive possession. The controlled substance was found in a place of personal use of the individual over whom it exercises control (car, room, bag and others).
  • Joint possession. 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 the knowledge of the substance or drug with the intention of sale are:  

  • The person knew it was a controlled substance.
  • They were aware of the presence of the substance.
  • They exercised control over the drug found.

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

The judge and jury will assess other elements and the strength of the allegations submitted by the drug defense attorney. Here again, the person’s criminal record and social behavior are analyzed. 

drug packaging for sale

Intention To Sell

  • The authorities must prove that the controlled substance was intended for sale. Regardless of whether the sale will be made personally or by an intermediary.
  • Establishing the differentiation in the case is essential. Since a conviction for simple drug possession is not the same as for possession of drugs with the intention of selling.
  • The quantity 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, in addition, the drug is accompanied by paraphernalia for sale. For example, scales, containers, and so on that evidence intent to sell the controlled substance.

Crimes Related To Possession For Sale Of A Controlled Substance in Los Angeles

There are several crimes that relate to the charge of possession for the sale of drugs: 

  • Transportation, importation, or administration of a controlled substance for sale – HSC §11352(a).
  • Offer to Sell Substitute Substance – HSC §11355.
  • Offer for sale of synthetic cannabinoids or cannabinoid derivatives – HSC §11357.5(b).
  • Peyote cultivation – HSC §11363.
  • Open or maintain a drug house – HSC 11366 HS. 
  • Possession for sale of synthetic stimulant compounds – HSC §11375.5(a).
  • Possession of imitation controlled substance with intent to distribute – HSC §109575.
  • Simple possession of a controlled substance – HSC §11377 (a).
  • Possession for Sale of Controlled Substances: Persons Eligible for Sentencing under CPC §1170(h) – HSC §11378.
  • Sale or transportation for sale of controlled substances – HSC §11379(a).

Can I Be Charged With Possession For Sale Of A Controlled Substance in Los Angeles If It Is For Personal Use?

If you can’t prove the drug was for personal use, you may face intent to sale charges, yes. The quantity, the type of substance, the place where it was found, the packaging and any other element that indicates that you had the intention of selling, are determining factors.  

Examples could be various individual doses, cash, drug paraphernalia. On the other hand, if the amount is small and a pipe or syringe is found, it is assumed to be for personal use.

Can Prescription Drugs Also Lead To A Charge Of Possession Of A Controlled Substance For Sale?

Yes. The charge for possession of a controlled substance for sale also includes these types of drugs. Although its consumption is legal when the person is authorized by a licensed doctor, it is considered illegal when it does not have a valid prescription.

What Do I Do If I Am Charged With Possession For Sale Of A Controlled Substance in Los Angeles?

Remember that you have the possibility of hiring the best drug crimes lawyers in Los Angeles. 

Our advice is to immediately call your controlled substance crimes criminal defense attorneys. They will be able to help you achieve the following:

  • Getting the charges dismissed by the court.
  • Negotiate a plea deal to receive a lesser charge or reduced sentence.

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

If you are facing a charge for possession for 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.