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Possession of a Controlled Substance for Sale

HS 11351

There are many drug crimes in California. Perhaps the two most common drug crimes are possession of a controlled substance charged as HS 11350(a), and possession of a controlled substance for sale charged as HS 11351-F. This article is dedicated to the law, punishment, and defenses related to possession of a controlled substance for sale. For information on the crime of possession of a controlled, see HS 11350(a).

HS 11351 Law Abbr.

HS 11351: It is a crime to possess for sale, or purchase for the purpose of sale, any controlled substance (CS) (Abbrev.). 


CS Defined: A controlled substance includes, but is not limited to: Codeine, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Oxycodone, Heroin, Cocaine, Norco, Vicodin, Oxycontin, MDMA, Mescaline, Methamphetamine, LSD, DMT, Ecstasy, Molly, Mushrooms, PCP, and more.

Possession Defined: Possession of drugs may be actual or constructive. Actual possession means that the defendant has the drugs on his or her person or within his or her immediate control such as in the glove box of his or her car. Constructive possession means that the defendant does not have the drugs on his or her person but has the authority to control the possession of the drugs such as having drugs at his or her house. This means that the defendant does not necessarily need to be caught red-handed with drugs in his or her immediate possession in order to be charged with possession of a controlled substance for sale (HS 11351).

Sentence for 11351

Jail: HS 11351 is charged as a felony. If found guilty of HS 11351, Possession for sale of a controlled substance, the defendant could face up to four years in county jail.

Note: There are enhanced penalties, including longer jail sentences, for possessing over a certain amount of controlled substance. Essentially, the penalties increase as the quantity of drugs in possession of the defendant increases.


PC 1170(h) Sentence: If the defendant is convicted of possession of a controlled substance for sale, and he or she is not granted a probation sentence, then he or she will be allowed to serve his or her incarceration in a local county jail (as opposed to a sate prison). In addition, any jail sentence associated with HS 11351 charges may be split or suspended. A split jail sentence is a period of time served in jail and a period of time served out of jail on work release or house arrest. A suspended sentence is a jail sentence that might not have to be served at all if the defendant fulfills the conditions of his or her out of custody sentence.

Probation: A probation sentence is a period of time under which a probation officer monitors the defendant (instead of being ordered to jail). Probation sentences are available in HS 11351 cases, but they are not guaranteed. Whether or not a probation sentence will be granted to a defendant after a conviction of possessing controlled substances for sale depends largely on the defendant's criminal history, the facts of the case, and other factors.


Three Strike Offense: Possession of a controlled substance for sale is not classified as a strike offense under California's Three Strikes Law.


CIMT: Possession of a controlled substance for sale is considered a crime involving moral turpitude. A crime involving moral turpitude is a crime that is considered morally wrong and can carry collateral punishments with immigration concerns (for non US citizens), and licensed professionals (lawyers, dentists, doctors, nurses, teachers, etc.).

Drug Offender Registrant: Convictions of HS 11351 will require the defendant to register as a drug offender with local law enforcement.


In addition to a possible jail sentence, other punishments for HS 11351 convictions include: monetary fines and fees, enhanced penalties for future crimes, stay-away orders (restraining orders), registration as a drug offender with local authorities, firearm prohibition, possible mandatory narcotics classes (NA classes), possible loss of rights in family court, harsh probation or parole terms, and more.

Defense to HS  11351

Defenses to California drug crimes are as varied and numerous as the number of drug crimes themselves. The most common defenses to possession of a controlled substance for sale (HS 11351) include: insufficient evidence to prove a usable amount of a controlled substance, insufficient evidence to prove possession or sale, mistake of fact, statute of limitations, coerced confessions, police misconduct, illegal search and seizure issues, entrapment, and more.

To learn more about possession of a controlled substance for sale, or HS 1135), contact our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Our drug defense attorneys are successful and experienced and we are available everyday /7 to answer all of your questions. Call today!


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