If you’re found in possession of marijuana and there are circumstances, statements, or evidence that suggest to police or prosecutors that you intended to sell the drug — even if that wasn’t your intention — you may be charged with possession of marijuana for sale. While possession of marijuana is legal if you are 21, selling without a state license still remains illegal in California.
If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana for sale, it may be critical to your future to seek the help of an experienced San Diego marijuana lawyer who can be your voice in court and work to get you the best possible outcome in your case. Each case turns on unique facts and evidence, and a good San Diego marijuana lawyer can look at the entirety of the case and see how the circumstances surrounding your charge might offer opportunities for a successful defense.
What is Possession For Sale?
California Health & Safety Code §11359 makes it illegal to possess marijuana for sale. If you possess any usable quantity of marijuana — even less than one ounce — and police and prosecutors have evidence that you intended to sell the drug, you can be charged with possession for sale.
Your intention to sell the marijuana may be established through things you said, or through circumstantial evidence that indicates you were planning to sell the drug. For example, if the marijuana in your possession is packaged in baggies, or there is a scale present when you’re found in possession of the drug, you’ll likely be charged with possession for sale.
Penalties for a Possession For Sale Conviction
The possible penalties for possession of marijuana for sale differ based on the age of the person charged.
If you’re under 18, the possible consequences include:
- First Offense — Eight hours of drug education or counseling and up to 40 hours of community service over 90 days
- Second or Subsequent Offense — Ten hours of drug education or counseling and up to 60 hours of community service over 120 days.
If you’re over 18, you can be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A fine of up to $500
If you have certain prior convictions or are suspected of attempting to sell marijuana to someone under 18, you may face a felony charge with a possible sentence of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in a county jail.
Unlike some other drug-related offenses, California law does not allow the option to complete a drug diversion program and to enter treatment in lieu of serving jail time when you’re convicted of possession of marijuana for sale.
Other Consequences of a Possession For Sale Conviction
As noted above, a conviction for possession of marijuana for sale is a felony regardless of the amount. You’ll then have a permanent felony record as a drug offender, which can leave a scar on your life in a number of ways.
- Employment — You may have trouble finding a job with a felony drug conviction on your record.
- Housing — Landlords may have policies against renting to people with felony drug convictions.
- Professional Licenses — You may be unable to obtain a license to practice a profession such as law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, or teaching. If you already have a license, it may be suspended or revoked when you get a felony drug conviction.
- Higher Education — When you have a felony drug conviction on your record, you may not be admitted to a college or university, or you may not be eligible to receive federal financial aid such as grants or student loans to pay tuition. If you’re already a student, you may lose your financial aid and have to find some other way to pay for school if you want to continue classes.
- Immigration — A felony drug conviction can be grounds to deny you an immigration visa, green card, or citizenship. If you already have a visa or green card, it can be revoked when you’re convicted of a felony drug offense, and you may be deported to your native country.
- Child Custody — A felony drug conviction on your record may sway the opinion of a judge in a custody case and you may be considered an unfit parent. If you serve jail time for your sentence, your children may be placed in a foster home or with relatives until you get out, and you might have to work to convince a caseworker to return them to you when you complete your sentence.
Defending a Possession For Sale Charge
The effects of a drug conviction may follow you for the rest of your life, but with the help of a compassionate and qualified San Diego marijuana lawyer, you may be able to fight the charge — and avoid the stigma of a conviction, or lessen the impacts by negotiating a reduction in your charge or penalties.
Every criminal case is based on a unique set of circumstances, facts, evidence, and testimony. An experienced San Diego marijuana lawyer can review and analyze the facts and evidence prosecutors are using to support the charge against you and discuss with you the best way to proceed. You may find that you have good options for fighting your charge.
Depending on the circumstances, some possible defense strategies that your lawyer might explore in your possession of marijuana for sale case include arguing that:
- The substance was not marijuana
- You were not in possession of the marijuana
- You had no intent to sell the marijuana
- Evidence against you was obtained through an illegal search or seizure
- Evidence against you was obtained through an illegal traffic stop
- Evidence against you was obtained using illegal wiretapping or surveillance
- Police made some other error in the course of their investigation or when arresting you that violated your constitutional rights
This website is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. Free consultation for criminal defense cases only. Cannabis business consultation requires a fee.