Although California’s drug crimes are complex and some simple possession charges have been decriminalized, felony drug charges, such as the sale and transportation of methamphetamine, are always considered very serious and can come with some extremely harsh penalties.
If you have been charged with the sale or transportation of methamphetamine, or a related offense, you will need to understand the details of the violation and to consult with a California defense attorney who knows the most effective legal defenses for getting methamphetamine charges reduced or possibly even dismissed.
Under California’s Health & Safety Code 11379, it is a felony to sell methamphetamine or to transport methamphetamine for the purpose of selling it. This charge is often used as a substitute for a Possession with Intent to Sell charge (HS 11378) when the evidence to prove the sale of methamphetamine is insufficient. In addition to selling and transporting methamphetamine, HS 11379 also makes it illegal to furnish or administer methamphetamine or to import it into California. Additionally, merely offering to do any of these things, regardless of whether you actually do them, is also a violation of HS 11379. You can also be guilty of violating HS 11379 without personally handling any meth provided that, in some way, you have control over the meth.
Penalties for HS 11379 violations are explained in more detail below, but may include two (2) to four (4) years in jail. Jail sentences may increase depending on certain factors such as the quantity of methamphetamine being sold or transported or if you use a minor to help you sell or transport methamphetamine.
California legal definition of ‘sale or transportation of methamphetamine’
According to California Health and Safety Code 11379, it is illegal to do any of the following:
- Sell methamphetamine or exchange it for any good or service of value
- Give a way or provide methamphetamine to someone else
- Administer methamphetamine to someone else
- Transport methamphetamine any distance with the intent to sell it
In order for the prosecutor to prove that you are guilty of violating HS 11379, they must be able to prove that:
- you had knowledge of the drug’s presence and status as a controlled substance and
- the amount of methamphetamine being sold or transported qualifies as a usable quantity. A usable quantity is enough of the substance that it could be used as a drug, which includes even trace amounts of methamphetamine. The amount of the drug being sold or transported does not need to be enough to get someone high in order to be considered a usable quantity.
Drugs covered by Health & Safety Code 11379
Although HS 11379 primarily covers methamphetamines (also known as meth, crystal meth, crystal, speed, blow, crank, ice, glass, rock or tina), it also applies to some other stimulants and non-narcotic drugs. These drugs include:
- Ketamine, also known as “special K”
- Gammy hydroxybutyric acid, also known as “GHB”
- Some anabolic steroids
HS 11379 related offenses
There are many California drug crime offenses similar or related to Health & Safety Code 11379 sale and transportation of methamphetamine. Some of the most commonly charged of those related offenses include:
- Health & Safety Code 11550 – being under the influence of methamphetamine
Under HS 11550, California’s “under the influence of a controlled substance” law, it is illegal to be under the influence of methamphetamine or other drugs including common controlled narcotics and hallucinogens. A violation of HS 11550 is a misdemeanor offense that could result in up to one (1) year in county jail, though there is a possibility of qualifying to participate in a drug diversion program instead of serving jail time.
- Health & Safety Code 11378 – possession of meth for sale
Under HS 11378 it is illegal to have methamphetamines in your possession with the intent to sell them. This violation differs from HS 11379 in that you do not need to actually sell the drugs, attempt to sell them, or transport the drugs for sale. A violation of HS 11378 carries a potential penalty of 16 months or two (2) or (3) years in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Health & Safety Code 11352 – transportation or sale of controlled substances
HS 11352 is very similar to HS 11379 sale and transportation of methamphetamine. The difference between these two violations is that HS 11352 applies to a different set of controlled substances including heroin, cocaine, and some prescription drugs. In California, drug trafficking as defined by HS 11352 is considered to be more serious than methamphetamine trafficking, HS 11379, and carries harsher penalties. Penalties for an HS 11352 violation include three (3) to five (5) years of jail time.
- Health & Safety Code 11379.6 – manufacturing a controlled substance
In California, it is a felony to manufacture, produce, compound, derive, or process a controlled substance such as methamphetamine. Because methamphetamine can be made, or “cooked,” from local ingredients, many of the prosecutions of HS 11379.6 are for the manufacturing of methamphetamine in underground meth labs. Because the manufacturing of methamphetamine is often related to its sale and transportation, this offense is often charged in addition to HS 11379 changes. Penalties for an HS 11379.6 violation include three (3), five (5), or seven (7) years in jail and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
- Health & Safety Code 11383.5 HS – possession of materials used to manufacture methamphetamine
It is also a felony in California to possess the materials used to manufacture methamphetamine with the intention of using them to cook meth. This includes certain chemicals or combinations of chemicals. This violation is often charged alongside HS 11379. Penalties for an HS 11383.5 violation include two (2), four (4), or six (6) years in jail.
- Vehicle Code 23152(e) – driving under the influence of methamphetamines
California Vehicle Code 23152(e) driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) prohibits the operating of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs including methamphetamine. This violation is sometimes charged alongside HS 11379. Penalties for a first-time offender of this violation may include up to one (1) year in county jail, a fine of up to $390, driver’s license restrictions, and a mandatory drug education class.
Penalties for the sale and transportation of methamphetamine
The sale and transportation of methamphetamine is a felony drug crime that comes with harsh consequences. Potential penalties for violating HS 11379 include steep fines time in state prison. For a first-time offense with no aggravating circumstances, you will likely face the following penalties:
- Two (2), three (3), or (4) years in state prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
Although drug diversion is an optional alternate sentence for many other drug crimes, it is not possible in lieu of jail time for an HS 11379 violation.
Penalties may be enhanced for certain circumstances related to an HS 11379 violation. These circumstances include:
- Selling methamphetamine near drug treatment centers or homeless shelters
- Using the help of a minor in the sale of methamphetamine
- Selling or transporting more than one kilo of methamphetamine
According to U.S. immigration law, all controlled substance offenses, including HS 11379 violations, could lead to deportation if you are a legal immigrant or an illegal alien.
Legal defenses for the sale and transportation of methamphetamine
The best defense strategy for you will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and a good defense attorney can build a defense strategy that will give you the best shot against the drug charges you are facing. Some of the most common defenses used against HS 11379 violations include:
- You did not intend to sell the methamphetamine that was in your possession
- You transported methamphetamine but did not intend to sell it. In order to be convicted of transportation of methamphetamine under HS 11379, it must be proven that the methamphetamine was transported with the intent to sell it.
- Entrapment — You were coerced into transporting, selling, or giving away methamphetamine by an undercover police officer.
In California, felony drug charges are serious and could lead to some harsh penalties. If you have been charged with the sale, transport, or possession of methamphetamine or another drug, consulting with a qualified attorney early on is your best bet. As a California criminal defense attorney with over 30 years of experience, I have the knowledge and expertise to examine the details of your case and to help you receive the best possible outcome. If you have been charged with an HS11379 or related offense, don’t wait, contact my firm today!