Someone transports drugs when he or she moves them from one place to another even if the distance is a short one. Transportation can be accomplished by foot, bicycle, or any other means of transportation. You do not need to intend to sell or distribute drugs to be convicted of transporting drugs. All that needs to be proven is that you moved the drugs. If you have any questions about a transportation charge in San Diego, contact experienced transportation criminal defense attorney Vik Monder for a free consultation today at: 619-405-0063.
Drug Transportation in San Diego
In San Diego, a person does not need to have physically possessed the illegal drugs in order to be convicted of transporting the drugs. It is enough if the person had constructive possession over the drugs. Constructive possession means that even if you do not physically possess the controlled substance, you either personally or through another person
1) Exercised control over the drugs, or
2) Had the right to control the drugs.
Transportation vs. Manufacturing Drugs
California differentiates the possession of drugs from the transporting or manufacturing of drugs. A transportation charge is more serious than a possession charge. California Health and Safety Code section 11352 prohibits Drug Transportation. Under this section, transporting means the moving of controlled substances from one place to another regardless of how insignificant the distance of the move.
Drug Transportation: Prosecution’s Burden of Proof
However, the prosecution does need to prove the following elements in order to succeed in a transportation conviction:
- the defendant engaged in the transportation of drugs;
- the defendant knew of the drug’s presence and nature as a controlled substance;
This element requires that the person knew of the drug’s presence and nature as a controlled substance. This does not mean that the person knew the exact chemical makeup of the drug or even the name of the drug. As long as the person knew the substance was an illegal narcotic that will suffice.
- there was enough of the drug to be used as a controlled substance.
This element only applies to a transportation of drugs charge. Transporting useless traces or residue of a drug will not sustain a transportation of drugs conviction.
Drug Transportation is a Felony Offense
A Health and Safety Code section 11352 conviction is a felony. A person convicted is punishable by:
- Probation and up to one year in the county jail, or
- Three, four, or five years in the California State prison and a maximum $20,000 fine.
Aggravating Factors for Drug Transportation
- If someone in San Diego is convicted of transporting a controlled substance for sale, and the person moved the drugs across more than two county lines, the person faces a three, six, or nine-year prison term and a maximum $20,000 fine. A conviction under this section could also lead to deportation if the person is a legal immigrant or legal alien.
- If the controlled substance involved heroin, cocaine, or cocaine base, and the illegal activity took place upon the grounds of or within 1,000 feet of a drug treatment, “detox” facility or a homeless shelter. This could impose an additional one year in the state prison.
- If a person convicted of Health and Safety Code section 11352 for transporting or selling a controlled substance and has at least one prior felony conviction for another California drug crime that does not involve personally using drugs, the person faces an additional and consecutive three-year term for each prior felony conviction.
Fortunately, there are many defenses to a section 11352 charge. These defenses are as follows:
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of intent
- Illegal search and seizure
- Police misconduct
- Mistaken identity
If you are charged with any type of drug transportation charge, you are facing a felony, the best thing you could do is find a skilled criminal defense attorney. Particularly, you should find a local criminal defense attorney who knows the local San Diego judicial system. Local criminal defense attorneys know how local judges and local prosecutors work, and can use that knowledge to better represent you. While the charge may sound easy to resolve, the reality is that they are quite complicated, especially when it comes time to adequately represent your case before a judge or jury. To make sure you get the best legal scenario possible, you should talk to a skilled criminal defense attorney.