Sale or Transportation of Methamphetamine
(California Health & Safety Code 11379 HS)

Health and Safety Code 11379 - methamphetamine sale / transport

California Health and Safety Code 11379 makes it a felony to sell or transport methamphetamines. Other illegal acts under HS 11379 include giving away meth or administering it to another person. You also violate Health and Safety Code 11379 just by offering to do any of these things.

HS 11379 also applies to other stimulants and drugs such as gamma hydroxybutyric acid ("GHB"), phencyclidine ("PCP"), ketamine ("special K") and certain anabolic steroids.

How do I defend charges of selling meth in California?

The best defense to California Health and Safety Code 11379 depends on the facts of your individual case. Some of the most common defenses to selling crystal meth include (but are not limited to):

  • You didn't sell or transport any methampetamines
  • You transported meth with no intent to sell it
  • You didn't know that what you transported was a controlled substance
  • You were a medical professional selling amphetamines in accordance with California and federal law
  • The police coerced you into selling meth to an undercover officer (entrapment), or
  • The police coerced a confession or falsified evidence.

What are the consequences of selling meth in California?

Selling or transporting methamphetamines is a California felony. Penalties under HS 11379 can include:

  • two, three, or four years in jail, and/or
  • a fine of up to $10,000.

Additionally, you face a potentially longer sentence for selling crystal meth in California if:

  • you sold a large quantity of meth,
  • you transported meth across more than two counties with the intent to sell them, or
  • you used a minor (someone under 18) to help you sell the methamphetamines.

Can I get drug treatment instead of jail time for selling meth?

You are not eligible for drug diversion (treatment)instead of jail time if you are convicted of selling meth or other drugs under California 11379 HS. Drug diversion is available is available only if the drugs were intended solely for your personal use.

Can I be deported for selling meth in California?

Selling meth is a crime that can lead to deportation even if you are a legal immigrant or alien. For more information about how a conviction under Health and Safety Code 11379 affect aliens, please see our article on California Crimes that Lead to Deportation.

What can I do if I am charged with selling meth?

Methamphetamines and other stimulants result in more emergency room drug admissions in California than any other drug. As a result, cops and prosecutors are often overzealous in seeking convictions. Often innocent people get accused of selling meth--or those who would be better off with treatment are sent to jail.

Our California drug lawyers1 know the most effective ways of getting HS 11379 charges reduced to simple possession (or even dismissed outright).

Don't let a conviction for selling meth get you labeled and stigmatized as a "drug offender." Contact our experienced California drug defense attorneys to find out how we can help.

To learn more about Health and Safety Code 11379, you may also wish to read the following article, in which our California criminal defense attorneys discuss:

1. Health and Safety Code 11379 HS meth sales

1.1. What drugs does 11379 HS apply to?
1.2. What does California Health and Safety Code 11379 prohibit?
1.3. Elements of the crime of selling amphetamines
1.3.1. Possession
1.3.2. Knowledge
1.3.3. “Sufficient quantity” to use as a drug

2. How do I defend a charge of selling meth?

3. What is the penalty for selling meth in California?

3.1. Basic felony penalties for selling or transporting drugs under HS 11379
3.1.1. Transporting meth across two or more counties
3.2. Aggravating factors
3.2.1. Selling drugs at treatment centers or homeless shelters
3.2.2. Prison time for more than one kilogram of meth
3.2.3. Using a minor to help you sell drugs
3.3. Deportation for selling meth in California
3.4. Drug treatment instead of jail

4. Related offenses

4.1. Health & Safety Code 11377 -- Possession of methamphetamines
4.2. Health and Safety Code 11378 – Possession of meth for sale
4.3. Health and Safety Code 11350 -- Possession of a controlled substance
4.4. Health and Safety Code 11351 -- Possession of a controlled substance for sale
4.5. Health and Safety Code 11352 -- Pransporting or selling a controlled substance
4.6. Vehicle Code 23152(a) -- Driving under the influence of drugs
4.7. Health and Safety Code 11550 -- Being under the influence of a controlled substance
4.8. Health & Safety Code 11379.6 - Manufacturing a controlled substance
4.9. Health and Safety Code 1138.5 -- Possession of materials for manufacturing methamphetamine
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1 Health and Safety Code 11379 HS meth sales

1.1. What drugs does 11379 HS apply to?

California Health and Safety Code 11379 HS applies to stimulants and other non-narcotic drugs. These include methamphetamines--also known as meth, crystal, crystal meth, speed, blow, rock, tina, chalk, ice, glass, or crank.

Other common drugs prohibited from sale by HS 11379 include (but are not limited to):

  • gamma hydroxybutyric acid ("GHB"),
  • phencyclidine ("PCP"),
  • specific anabolic steroids, and
  • ketamine("special K" or "K").

1.2. What does California Health and Safety Code 11379 prohibit?

HS 11379 makes it illegal to do any of the following:

  • sell or exchange crystal meth for money, services or anything else of value,
  • transport meth from one location to another (regardless of distance) with the intent to sell it,
  • give away or provide crank to others,
  • administer meth to someone else, and/or
  • offer or attempt to perform any of the foregoing acts.

1.3. Elements of the crime of selling methamphetamines

In order to prove that you are guilty under 11379 HS, the prosecutor must prove that you:

  1. engaged in at least one of the specific acts mentioned above,
  2. knew of the drug's presence and nature as a controlled substance, and
  3. had enough of the substance so that it could be used as a drug.2

Let's take a closer look at how the prosecution proves some of these elements.

1.3.1. Possession

California's criminal law defines "possession" in three ways:

"actual” possession: you were holding the drugs or they were in something you were wearing or carrying;

“constructive” possession: the drugs were in a location over which you exercised control (either directly or through another person); or

"joint" possession: you shared actual or constructive possession with one or more other people.3

You don't have to hold or touch drugs personally in order to be convicted under HS 11379. If you use another person to transport or sell the drugs for you—or if you are otherwise in control of the drugs or the operation--you can still be convicted.

1.3.2. Knowledge

To convict you under Health and Safety Code 11379, the prosecutor must also show that:

  1. you knew of the drug's presence, and
  2. you knew of its nature as a controlled substance as defined by the United States "Controlled Substances Act".

Example: A friend passing through town on her way home from Mexico has a large stash of “diet pills” with her. She tells you they were purchased over the counter in Mexico and are legal here. She leaves them behind when she goes home and you decide to sell them. Since you thought they were legal, you may have a defense to the charges.

Note that you do not need to know the name of a drug or its precise chemical makeup in order to know of its nature as a controlled substance.  It is enough that you know generally that you have an idea of what its true nature is.4

1.3.3. “Sufficient quantity” to use as a drug

You are only guilty under Health and Safety Code 11379 if you had enough of the controlled substance so that it could actually be used as a drug.

This does not mean there had to be enough to get to get high. It simply means that you had more than mere traces or residue.5

2. How do I defend a charge of selling meth?

Defenses to HS 11379 will vary depending on the circumstances of your case. Some of the most common defenses to charges of selling drugs, however, include (but are not limited to):

  • you transported drugs but never intended to sell them,
  • you only sold, transported or gave away the meth because you were coerced into doing so by an undercover police officer (entrapment),6 or
  • you didn't intend to sell the drugs--your intentions were simply misunderstood

3. What is the penalty for selling meth in California?

3.1. Basic felony penalties for selling or transporting drugs under HS 11379

The consequences of selling meth in California are:

  • two, three, or four years in jail, and/or
  • a maximum $10,000 fine.
3.1.1. Transporting meth across two or more counties

If, however, you are convicted of transporting meth across more than two counties, the possible jail sentence increases to:

  • three, six, or nine years.

The same penalties apply not just to selling meth, but to all the acts and drugs prohibited under California Health and Safety Code 11379.

 3.2. Aggravating factors

3.2.1. Selling drugs at treatment centers or homeless shelters

You face an additional ear in jail regardless of the amount of crystal meth you sold if the illegal activity took place upon the grounds of, or within 1,000 feet of:

  • a drug treatment center,
  • a "detox" facility or
  • a homeless shelter.6
3.2.2. Prison time for more than one kilogram of meth

If the weight of the meth you sold or transported exceeded one kilogram, you face an additional three to fifteen years in prison.7

3.2.3. Using a minor to help you sell drugs

Finally, if a minor helps you sell meth or is the buyer you face an additional three, six or nine-year prison sentence.8 For purposes of California's methamphetamine laws, a minor is anyone under 18. You may also face additional charges under Penal Code 272 PC--California's contributing to the delinquency of a minor law.

3.3. Deportation for selling meth in California

If you are a legal immigrant or legal alien, a conviction for selling meth could lead to deportation.9 For more information about how California drug offenses affect aliens, please see our article on California Crimes that Lead to Deportation.

3.4. Drug treatment instead of jail

"Drug diversion" is an alternative sentencing option that allows a drug abuser to receive drug treatment in lieu of a jail or prison sentence. You are eligible for California's drug diversion programs if you possessed meth solely for your personal use.

However, even if the original charge was for selling or transporting meth under 11379 HS, you may be eligible for drug diversion if your California drug defense lawyer negotiates a reduced plea to simple possession.

For more information on California's drug diversion programs, see our articles on:

4. Related Offenses

A number of offenses are closely related to Health and Safety Code 11379 HS.  Some of the most commonly charged are:

4.1. Health & Safety Code 11377 -- Possession of methamphetamines

If you possess drugs solely for personal use, you may violate California Health and Safety Code 11377 HS. This law applies to the same drugs as HS 1379 does.

Possession of meth under HS 11377 is usually a misdemeanor. It can be punished by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

4.2. Health and Safety Code 11378 – possession of meth for sale

California Health and Safety Code 11378 HS makes it illegal to possess methamphetamines if you intend to sell them. Unlike HS 11379, no actual or attempted sale or transportation of the drugs is required.

Health and Safety Code 11378 carries a potential penalty of 16 months or two or three years in county jail. You may also—or instead—be fined up to $10,000.

If you are convicted of possessing meth for sale, you are not eligible for drug diversion instead of jail time. 

4.3. Health and Safety Code 11350 -- possession of a controlled substance

Health and Safety Code 11350 HS California's law against possession of a controlled substance is almost identical to HS 11377.

The major difference is that HS 11350 applies to a wider variety of controlled substances.  They include (but are not limited to):

Possession of drugs under HS 11350 is usually a misdemeanor. It can be punished by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Eligible defendants may receive drug diversion (treatment) instead of jail time.

4.4. Health and Safety Code 11351 -- possession of a controlled substance for sale

Health and Safety Code 11351 HS California's law against possessing a controlled substance for saleis HS 11378's counterpart for other controlled substances, such as those listed above under Health and Safety Code 11350 HS.

Considered more serious than Health and Safety 11378 HS, this felony offense subjects you to:

  • two, three or four years in jail, and/or
  • a maximum $10,000 fine.

4.5. Health and Safety Code 11352 -- transporting or selling a controlled substance

In the same fashion, Health and Safety Code 11352 HS California's law against transporting or selling controlled substances mimics HS 11379 except that it applies to a broader number of controlled substances.

And again, this offense is more serious than its meth counterpart, subjecting you to:

  • three, four or five years in county jail, or
  • three, six or nine years (if you move the drugs across more than two county lines),

and/or

  • a maximum $10,000 fine.

4.6. Vehicle Code 23152(a) -- driving under the influence of drugs

Finally, if you are caught driving under the influence of meth (or any other drug)...whether you additionally possess the drug or not...prosecutors could charge you with driving under the influence of drugs ("DUID").

And although driving under the influence of drugs is more difficult to prove than driving under the influence of alcohol, the penalties are the same.  A typical "first offense" subjects you to

  • up to one-year in a county jail,
  • a maximum $390 fine before penalty assessments,
  • a court-imposed driver's license restriction for a minimum of six months, and
  • a minimum three-month drug education class.

4.7. Health and Safety Code 11550 -- being under the influence of a controlled substance

Health and Safety Code 11550 HS is California's "under the influence of a controlled substance law".

The drugs addressed in this law include common controlled narcotics and hallucinogens, such as

  • heroin,
  • cocaine,
  • LSD,
  • peyote, and
  • prescription pain pills containing opiates.

A conviction for this misdemeanor drug offense subjects you to up to one (1) year in county jail.  However, eligible defendants may be able to participate in a drug diversion program instead.

4.8. Health & Safety Code 11379.6 - Manufacturing a controlled substance

Health & Safety Code 11379.6 (Manufacturing a controlled substance) makes it a felony to manufacture, compound, produce, derive or process an illegal controlled substance. Methamphetamine is one of the few major street drugs derived from local ingredients and "cooked" in underground meth labs. Consequently, a good share of the prosecutions under this section tend to be for manufacturing meth.

A conviction for HS 11379.6 subjects you to:

  • three, five, or seven years in jail, and
  • a fine of up to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

The sentence can be much longer if:

  • large quantities are being produced,
  • children are involved or nearby,
  • someone is injured or killed, or
  • you have a prior drug conviction.

4.9. Health and Safety Code 1138.5 -- possession of materials for manufacturing methamphetamine

You should also be aware that possession of materials for manufacturing methamphetamine is a felony under Health & Safety Code 11383.5 HS. You can be convicted of this crime if you possess certain chemicals or combinations of chemicals with the intent to use them to cook meth.

Possession of materials for the manufacture of methamphetamine carries a jail sentence of two (2), four (4) or six (6) years.

Call us for help...
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If you or a loved one is charged with selling drugs under California Health & Safety Code 11379 HS methamphetamines, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.

Additionally, our Las Vegas Nevada criminal defense attorneys are available to answer any questions about Nevada possession of methamphetamine laws.  For more information, we invite you to contact our local attorneys at one of our Nevada law offices, located in Reno and Las Vegas.10

¿Habla español? Visite nuestro sitio Web en español sobre el delito de vender metanfetamina de California.

Legal References:

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1 Our California criminal defense attorneys have local Los Angeles law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier.  We have additional law offices conveniently located throughout the state in Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.

2 Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) 2300.

3 California Jury Instructions, Criminal (CALJIC) 12.00.

4 People v. Guy (1980) 107 Cal.App.3d 593, 600-601.

5 People v. Leal (1966) 64 Cal.2d 504, 512; People v. Rubacalba (1993) 6 Cal.4th 62, 66.

6 California Health and Safety Code 11380.7 HS.

7 California Health and Safety Code 11370.4 HS.

8 California Health and Safety Code 11353 HS. 

9 8 U.S. Code Section 1227.

10 Our Nevada law offices are located in Reno and Las Vegas. Please feel free to contact our Las Vegas Nevada criminal defense attorneys Michael Becker and Neil Shouse with questions relating to Nevada's drug crimes.

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