Just because California allows the use of medical marijuana doesn’t mean that this state is soft on drug crimes. In fact, simply possessing certain drugs can land a person in prison for up to three years. When a person is in possession of controlled substances with the intent to sell them, however, they could face much more serious consequences. Since the penalties are so severe, anyone facing these charges would do well to fully understand the law.
What Constitutes Possession with Intent to Sell?
To prove that a person was in possession of a controlled substance and intended to sell it, California prosecutors must first prove possession. They can do this by showing that a person had a drug that’s listed in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act on their person at the time of arrest. This is known as actual possession. Additionally, possession can be proven by showing that an individual had control over an area, such as their car, where drugs were found.
Possession related to having control over the area where drugs were found is known as constructive possession. When two people have control over the same area, they can still be charged under joint possession rules.
In these cases, prosecutors must also prove that an individual had intent to sell these drugs. This can be proven by several circumstantial pieces of evidence. Evidence can include possession of scales, lots of money (particularly in smaller denominations) or large quantities of the drug. Even having the drug packaged individually in smaller containers can go towards proving intent to sell.
Bail Amounts for Possession with Intent to Sell
Anyone familiar with the California bail system knows that bail amounts for possession with intent to sell can vary widely depending on the county in which the person is arrested. In Los Angeles County, for instance, bail will be set at $30,000 for controlled substance amounts weighing up to one kilogram. This amount can rise all the way up to $5 million, however, depending on the weight of the drugs a person has in his or her control.
San Diego County, on the other hand, has their bail amount for this crime set at a flat $20,000. San Luis Obispo County’s bail is almost identical to this amount, but they set the amount a full $5,000 more at $25,000. If you are uncertain in which facility your friend or family member has been incarcerated, Bail Hotline’s Inmate Search can help provide this information.
Punishments for Possession with Intent to Sell
Those convicted of possession with intent to sell face various penalties. The crime is a felony under California law, and if convicted, an individual could face up to four years in prison for one charge alone; this is in combination with fines that can reach all the way up to $20,000.
Additionally, it is important to note that individuals can actually be charged with the crime multiple times if it can be proven that they intended on making several drug sales. Additionally, aggravating factors, such as excessive weight, can land a person an additional term of up to 25 years. This is in combination with the fact that some crimes, such as transporting drugs, can be charged in relation to possession with intent to sell.
Possessing a controlled substance with the intent to sell it is a very serious crime regardless of where a person resides. As can be gathered from the bail amounts and penalties related to the crime in California, though, it’s not hard to see that the state takes an especially harsh stance on the crime. This is why anyone facing these charges should find a legal professional if they hope to avoid spending a good portion of their life behind bars.