Marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in California. However, violations of specific laws can result in criminal charges. California Health and Safety Code 11359, or HS 11359 prohibits individuals from possessing marijuana with intent to sell. If law enforcement arrests you for this reason, a conviction may result in jail time and significant fines. The law categorizes marijuana as the seeds, leaves, extracted resin, and any derivative of the plant.
To convict you of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, a prosecutor must prove:
- Possession: the confiscated marijuana was on your person or in an area to which you had easy access or control
- Knowledge: you were aware of the presence and nature of the marijuana
- Quantity: there was enough marijuana for you to sell it
- Intent: You planned to sell the marijuana
The judge can evaluate specific elements to establish whether the marijuana was for personal use or sale, such as the packaging of the drug, the presence of drug paraphernalia, or measurement instruments. The investigation also checks for any selling evidence like ledgers, cash, or receipts.
If you were under the influence when the police arrested you, it may indicate that the marijuana was for personal use, but a judge may not consider it enough proof as someone could be both a drug user and seller.
Penalties for Possession of Marijuana for Sale Under HS 11359
In California, possession of marijuana with the intent to sell can result in either a misdemeanor or a felony conviction. A judge will choose the appropriate category based on multiple factors, including previous criminal offenses and if you sold marijuana to minors.
Under HS 11359, misdemeanor penalties can include:
- Up to $500 in fines
- Up to six months in county jail
- Up to five years of probation
With a felony conviction under HS 11359, you can face:
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Up to three years in prison
- Up to five years of probation
- Registration as a drug offender
The law has specific provisions if you are under 18 at the time of a conviction for possession of marijuana with the intent to sell in California. If this is your first offense, you may require eight hours of drug education, counseling, and up to 40 hours of community services over 90 days. If this is your second offense or more, a judge can sentence you to similar penalties for a greater duration.
In addition to legal consequences, this type of conviction can affect your employment, including the possible loss of professional licenses, your higher education, immigration, and child custody. Given the extent of consequences for your personal and professional life, you should hire a professional criminal defense attorney as soon as you face charges for marijuana possession for sale.
Common Legal Defenses Against Possession of Marijuana for Sale Charges
After reviewing your situation, your attorney can determine which defense strategy to pursue to optimize your chances of success at getting a judge to dismiss your charges.
Common defenses against accusations of possession of marijuana for sale include:
- Illegal search and seizure: Law enforcement lacked an appropriate warrant or exhibited unprofessional conduct.
- Lack of possession of the marijuana: You either did not know about the drug was on your person or you never gained access to it.
- Lack of knowledge: You did not know the drug in your possession was a controlled substance.
- No intent to sell: You had possession of the drug for your personal use.
Protect Your Rights and Your Future with a Criminal Defense Attorney
The first thing you should do if you are under arrest for possession of marijuana with the intent to sell is to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney. This is important to protect your rights and your future. At The Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed, we have a successful history of helping thousands of clients obtain a dismissal of their criminal charges.
The legal system is complex to navigate, and Mr. Ahmed can advocate for you throughout the process, from interacting with police officers during the investigation to representing you during your hearings before the judge.
Did you get arrested for marijuana possession with the intent to sell in the East Bay Area? Contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed today at (510) 907-6600 to start building your defense.