What is transporting a controlled substance?

In California, it is a felony to sell, furnish or administer, give away, transport or import to California any controlled substance. Transporting a controlled substance is penalized under Section 11352 of the California Penal Code. Here, the act penalized is the transport of the controlled substance. This law penalizes those who deal in or supply drugs to others. This law targets drug couriers or those who deliver drugs to dealers. It also targets those who smuggle drugs into California.

What does “transport” mean?

Transport means carrying or moving controlled substances from one location to another. You can transport controlled substances using a car, truck or even a motorcycle or bicycle. You can even be charged and convicted with this crime if you move drugs on foot. You may also be charged and convicted of this crime even without possessing the controlled substance as when you send it through the mail or through a door-to-door delivery service.

A woman was charged and convicted of both possession for sale and transporting drugs. She appealed her conviction arguing that possession for sale was included in the crime as a lesser offense of transportation of controlled substances. The court affirmed both convictions stating that one can transport drugs without necessarily possessing them, thus, the crime of possession for sale cannot be a lesser offense included in the crime of transportation of controlled substances.

What must the prosecutor prove?

The Prosecutor must prove that the person accused brought into or moved controlled substances from one location to another. The prosecutor must prove that the accused person knew that he was transporting a controlled substance. The person transporting the controlled substance must be transporting a usable amount. There is no need to prove that the person who transported the controlled substance intended to sell the drugs if the charge is only for transporting the drugs. However, there must be evidence that the transportation of the drugs was for the purpose of sale (Section 11352 (c)).

What is the penalty for conviction of transporting a controlled substance?

Under section 11352, conviction for the felony of transporting a controlled substance carries with it a penalty of 3-9 years of imprisonment. A person who is found guilty of this charge may serve one year of his sentence in county jail and enter 3-5 years of probation. There is a fine of up to $20,000. Community service may be imposed by the court as well. The penalties may increase if the accused has prior convictions for drug offenses.

What happens when a person is arrested while transporting different kinds of controlled substances?

When a person transports different kinds of drugs all at once and for a single criminal objective, there can only be one charge. The prosecutor cannot charge the accused with a different act of transportation for every type of controlled substance he or she was found transporting.

But if for example, the different types of controlled substances were meant to be delivered to different buyers, then there is more than one criminal design. Each drug transported counts as a separate charge if there were multiple buyers.

It is important to note also that there are different laws that penalize transportation of different types of controlled substances. For example, section 11352 penalizes the transport of controlled substances while section 11360 penalizes the transport of cannabis; and section 11379 penalizes transport of restricted dangerous drugs. Thus, when there are different laws that penalize the transportation of different types of controlled substances, the multiple charges may be upheld, and the accused may be convicted and sentenced for each charge.

Are you facing a charge for transporting controlled substances? Do you need legal advice or representation? Call and speak with the committed criminal defense lawyers from Ramiro J. Lluis Law Office. They can help you.