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Drug Transportation in California Explained
The fact that it is a border state, as well as being one of the world’s largest trade hubs, made California the de facto epicenter for drug trafficking operations in the US. Combined with the fact that these clandestine operations infiltrate every pore of society and ruin the lives of millions every year make the drug trade an ever-growing problem that demands decisive action.
Considering how drug transportation is the backbone of said operations, it is more than understandable why California’s judicial system takes this particular type of transgression extremely seriously.
While a well-versed drug crimes attorney from San Diego can help mitigate some of the charges, individuals found guilty of the offense can still face severe penalties, making it critical to understand its implications and repercussions.
What constitutes drug transportation in CA?
Under California Health and Safety Code section 11352 HSC, the crime of drug (“controlled substance”) transportation is defined as:
- A conscious act of relocating a usable amount of a controlled substance with the intent of its future distribution or sale.
Although the above definition is given in its condensed version, we can immediately see which criminal elements constitute this offense:
- Conscious act:
- Awareness of the presence of the controlled substance;
- Awareness that the drug is a controlled substance.
- Moving the substance from one place to another, regardless of distance or means of transportation. Constructive possession (i.e. drug not being directly on one’s person) is also enough for conviction.
- Usable amount:
- “More than a useless amount” means that the substance can be used, regardless of its state (i.e. whether it’s pure or diluted).
- Intent of distribution or sale:
- A conscious attempt to import, sell, furnish, administer, or give away a controlled substance, either directly (in person) or via a third party (by proxy), or;
- Offering to perform any of these acts for another person.
It must be noted that, for a person to be charged with the crime of drug transportation, the prosecution must prove each of the above elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
How much time do you get for transporting drugs in California?
In California, the transportation of a controlled substance is considered a felony offense. As such, it carries the potential for a significant prison sentence.
Even first-time offenders can face up to 3, 4, or 5 years in county jail or the same length of time under formal (felony) probation, increased to 3, 6, or 9 years if drugs were transported across two or more county borders within California (e.g. San Diego County ⇒ Orange County ⇒ Los Angeles County).
However, there are a number of aggravating factors that may further increase jail time, including:
- If the transported drug is cocaine, cocaine base, or heroin: +1 year;
- Transportation route passes within 1,000ft of a drug treatment or detox facility, or homeless shelter: +1 year;
- Each prior drug conviction: +3 consecutive years.
Additionally, the state prison sentence can be increased even further for transportation of large quantities of heroin, cocaine, or cocaine base. In these instances, jail time can range from up to 3 years (for quantities exceeding 1kg) to up to 25 years (for quantities exceeding 80kg).
Where can I find an experienced drug crimes attorney near me in San Diego?
When facing the daunting prospect of drug transportation charges, you need a dedicated, knowledgeable, and experienced legal team by your side. In San Diego and the surrounding areas, there’s no one better to entrust your defense to than Monder Criminal Lawyer Group.
We specialize in various aspects of California criminal law, providing unwavering support and knowledgeable guidance throughout the legal process to all of our clients. Reach out to us today and rest assured that you will have a team that will work tirelessly to protect your rights, as well as a tailored and robust defense strategy best fit for your unique circumstances!