Arrests and prosecutions of drug transportation charges carry hidden dangers. Mainly, it’s the higher exposure you face over that of drug possession or sales. In some cases, two to three times higher!
One type of case will stand out beyond any other—driving with some kind of drugs in the car. What’s important to know is that transportation charges can be thrown at you regardless of the reason you are in possession of the substance you are found with (for example: whether its for personal use, for purposes of distribution, or simply acting on behalf of another). This is critical because where the prosecution starts the case with transportation, the challenge to lower the charges or punishment become more difficult than if they started as possession or sales.
The way drug transportation cases are categorized is by the type of narcotic found and the different reasons for having it in your possession (Example: transporting to help someone carry the load versus transporting because it’s yours and you’re going home). Below are the different kinds of transportation offenses based on drug-type and purpose of the possession. You will also find the exposure (possible prison sentence) for the charges.
As stated earlier, transporting drugs versus simply possessing or even selling them carries heavier punishment. Below are the different types of violations:
Transporting marijuana can be tricky because the issue of whether or not you possessed it for personal medicinal use versus for the purpose of selling or distributing can get complicated. The charge for transporting marijuana is a felony and is punishable by a minimum of two years in state prison or up to four years in prison. A person that is eligible for probation could be punished up to one year in county jail. To be arrested for this offense, there must be evidence showing that you sold or transported marijuana and that you knew of the presence of the substance and that it was marijuana.
Notice the three major categories of drugs fall under the same California law. Therefore, whether you transport cocaine, heroine, or prescription pills, the offense is treated the same. The punishment for transporting the listed drugs is a minimum of three years in state prison or up to five years in state prison. Someone who is eligible for probation can be facing up to one year in county jail.
To be arrested for this offense, law enforcement must bring facts to the prosecution that either you transported, sold, furnished, administered, or gave away a controlled substance or offered to transport, sell, furnish, administer, or give away a controlled substance, and that you knew it was a controlled substance and of its presence.
A lesser-known drug transportation charge is traveling with controlled substances across county lines. What that means is that there is some evidence that you transported a controlled substance within the state from one county to another noncontiguous county and that you knew of its presence and that you knew it was a controlled substance. The punishment for this offense is severe, in that it carries a range in state prison from three to nine years. Transporting Methamphetamine or Ecstasy: Health and Safety Code §11379(a) Since both methamphetamine and ecstasy are categorized differently from marijuana, cocaine, heroine, prescription pills, the transport of these drugs is also listed under a different section of the Health and Safety Code. But just like their counterparts, being arrested and charged with transporting the substance carries a harsher sentence than simple possession or sales. For this offense, a person could be looking at a minimum of two years to a maximum of four years in state prison. However, for someone that is eligible to receive probation as part of their punishment, the sentence can be up to one year in county jail.
It should not be surprising that with the complexity of these offenses, that a consultation or help from an experienced drug lawyer could help you devise a strategy and secure a sentence that is as low as possible. There are of course other options that would have to be explored and investigated including: Drug Treatment Programs, unlawful search and seizure defenses, as well as several other trial techniques that could get you the result that is best for you.