Sale or Transportation of Methamphetamine - California Health and Safety Code § 11379
The serious felony charge of sale or transportation for sale of methamphetamine under California law is found in Health and Safety Code § 11379. If convicted, you are not eligible for drug diversion instead of jail time.
This type of drug crime is commonly charged when a someone found driving in their vehicle with methamphetamine and believed to be in possession for possessed for sale. It could also apply in in a situation where methamphetamine is exchanged for services performed, or even if someone just gives away methamphetamine.
In order to prove the crime of HS 11379 transporting or selling methamphetamine, the burden lies with the prosecutor to show you were actually engaged in selling, transporting, or giving away methamphetamine.
It should also be noted that a prosecution for Section 11379 can be based on sale or transportation of other substances besides methamphetamine. Specifically, the same subsection criminalizes conduct related to “date rape” drugs such as GHB and Ketamine, as well as certain anabolic steroids.
The majority of prosecutions under this subsection, however, relate to sales or transportation of methamphetamine, a controlled substance which is unlawful to possess in almost all circumstances.
To give readers a good understanding of HS 11379 transporting or selling methamphetamine laws, our California criminal defense lawyers are providing an overview below.
Definition of HS 11379 Transport or Sell Methamphetamine
Health and Safety Code § 11379 defines the crime of sale or transportation for sale of methamphetamine as:
Anyone who transports, imports into California, sells, furnishes, administers, or gives away, or offers to do same, any controlled substance which is classified in Schedule III, IV, or V.
In other words, HS 11379 criminalizes any of the following acts:
- Transport methamphetamine from one place to another
- Sell or exchange meth for money, services, or something of value
- Administer or give away methamphetamine to someone else
- Offer or make an attempt to perform any of these acts
Health and Safety Code § 11379 prohibits any individual from selling or exchanging methamphetamine for cash, or anything else of value. It also prohibits transportation of methamphetamine for any distance with the intent to sell said methamphetamine.
Interestingly, Section 11379 also criminalizes giving away, i.e. “furnishing,” methamphetamine to another person even if no money changes hands. Offering to commit any of these crimes or attempting to commit them, even if unsuccessful, is equally chargeable under Section 11379.
Finally, it should be noted that a “usable amount,” of methamphetamine is an element of the crime which must be proven to sustain a Health and Safety Code § 11379 conviction.
For that reason, tiny amounts of residue which might be found on someone’s person, even combined with other indicia of sales such as large amounts of cash, baggies, scales, etc. should not form the basis for a felony prosecution under this section.
Penalties for Selling or Transporting Meth
The available penalties for a violation of Health and Safety Code § 11379, which is always a felony under California law, can vary dramatically depending on the applicability of certain enhancement provisions.
The base offense of selling or transporting methamphetamine is punishable by two, three, or four years in California state prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.
However, if the prosecution can establish that you transported the methamphetamine in question across at least two county lines, the possible prison sentence is increased to three, six, or nine years. A further one year sentencing enhancement applies if the sales activity occurred within 1000 yards of a drug treatment center, detox facility, or homeless shelter.
If a minor is involved in the sales activity – either as a mule, a lookout, or in any other fashion – an additional sentence of three, six, or nine years can be imposed.
Perhaps most significantly, sales involving large quantities of methamphetamine – over one kilogram – can result in enhanced prison sentences of as much as 15 years. It should be noted that Section 11379 is a straight felony, not a “wobbler,” and cannot be reduced therefore to a misdemeanor.
Drug diversion or deferred entry of judgment are also typically not available for these crimes. Pretrial negotiation by your criminal defense lawyer is therefore critical to try to reduce the offense, even if still a felony, to a crime which can later be reduced to a misdemeanor or be subject to a diversionary program.
Related California Offenses for HS 11379
Health and Safety Code 11352 – Transport or Sell Controlled Substances
Health and Safety Code 11370.6 – Possession of Drug Money Over $100,000
Health and Safety Code 11377 – Possession of Methamphetamine
Health and Safety Code 11378 – Possession of Meth for Sale
Health and Safety Code 11550 – Under the Influence of Methamphetamine
Health and Safety Code 11379.6 – Manufacture a Controlled Substance
Health and Safety Code 11383.5 – Possess Meth Manufacturing Materials
Health and Safety Code 11370.9 – Money Laundering Involving Drug Sales
Fighting Selling or Transporting Meth Charges
As with many possessory crimes, a common defense is that you were not in knowing possession. For example, it might be reasonable to make an argument that the methamphetamine seized belonged to someone else and you were unaware of its presence.
Even if the you were clearly in possession, it might be in doubt whether or not your purpose was personal use or sales. Again, indicia of sales activity beyond the drug’s presence itself is critical.
Larger amounts of substance raise an inference of sales activity more than smaller amounts. The presence of large amounts of cash, firearms, baggies, scales, and other paraphernalia associated with the drug trade also corroborate the allegation that the defendant possessed or transported the methamphetamine for sale.
Obviously, undercover operations in which the defendant actually sells, or attempts to sell, methamphetamine either to an undercover law enforcement officer or a cooperating witness provide very strong corroboration that the defendant is a drug dealer rather than simply a drug user, regardless of the quantity of methamphetamine involved.
If you or a family member is being investigated or charged with the serious California felony offense of sales or transportation of methamphetamine in violation of Health and Safety Code § 11379, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for an initial consultation.
We can advise you of the steps to take to protect your rights, challenge any unlawful search and seizure leading to your arrest, and intervene before court to maximize your chances of a positive outcome. The criminal defense law firm of Eisner Gorin LLP is located at 1875 Century Park E #705 Los Angeles, CA 90067. Call us at (310) 328-3776 to review the details of your case.