Health and Safety Code 11379 HS is the California statute that makes it a felony offense to sell methamphetamine or to engage in the transportation of methamphetamine for sale. A conviction is punishable by up to 4 years in state prison and up to $10,000.00 in fines.
Other illegal acts under HS 11379 include giving away meth or administering it to another person. A person also violates this law just by offering to do any of these things.
- selling methamphetamine to a neighbor.
- driving with meth tablets in a trunk for the purpose of selling them to someone.
- injecting another person with meth.
Criminal defense lawyers can use a certain legal strategy to help clients contest felony charges under this statute. A few common strategies include showing that:
- a defendant transported meth but did not intend to sell it,
- an accused was entrapped, and/or
- law enforcement conducted an unlawful search and seizure.
The crime is punishable by:
- custody in state prison (as opposed to county jail) for up to four years, and/or
- a maximum fine of $10,000.
Our California criminal defense attorneys will discuss the following in this article:
- 1. How does California law define “the sale or transportation of methamphetamine”?
- 2. Are there legal defenses?
- 3. What are the penalties for Health & Safety Code 11379 HS?
- 4. Are there related offenses?
1. How does California law define “the sale or transportation of methamphetamine”?
HS 11379 makes it illegal to do any of the following:
- sell or exchange meth for money, services or anything else of value,
- transporting methamphetamine from one location to another (regardless of distance) with the intent to sell it,
- give away or provide the controlled substance to others,
- administer meth to someone else, and/or
- offer or attempt to perform any of the foregoing acts.1
A prosecutor must prove the following to successfully convict a person under this statute:
- the accused engaged in at least one of the specific acts mentioned above,
- the accused knew of the drug’s presence and nature as a controlled substance, and
- the defendant sold or transported a “usable amount” of methamphetamine.2
As to “usable amount,” there can only be a guilty conviction if a person possesses enough meth so that it can be used as a controlled substance. This does not mean that a party has to possess large quantities of meth so that someone can get high. Rather, there just has to be enough of the drug so that it can be used in the way someone would normally use methamphetamines (for example, smoke it, snort it, swallow it, etc.).3
Note that this code section applies to methamphetamines, but it also prohibits the sale and transportation of other stimulants and non-narcotic drugs as well.
For example, it applies to:
2. Are there legal defenses?
People accused of drug crimes under this statute can challenge the accusation with a legal defense. Three common defenses include accused people showing that:
- they did not intend to sell meth.
- they were entrapped.
- a police officer conducted an unlawful search and seizure.
2.1. No intent to sell
Under this criminal law, it is a crime for a person to transport methamphetamines with an intent to sell them. Defendants can challenge these types of allegations with the assertion that, while they may have transported meth, they did not do so with an intent to sell the drug. Perhaps, for example, a defendant had meth for his/her own personal use.
Entrapment is when police use some type of overbearing conduct to trick a person into committing a crime. The defense often arises when someone is charged with a meth crime after an undercover sting. Entrapment is an acceptable legal defense so long as the accused shows he/she only committed a HS 11379 offense because of the entrapment.
2.3. Unlawful search and seizure
This is a common defense in criminal cases involving drugs. Police must have a warrant, or a legal excuse for not having one, to lawfully conduct a search and seizure. If not, defendants can raise the defense that they were arrested after the authorities conducted an invalid search and seizure.4 If successful, the defense can work to reduce or dismiss a charge.
3. What are the penalties for Health & Safety Code 11379 HS?
A violation of this code section is a felony offense.
The crime is punishable by:
- custody in state prison for up to four years, and/or
- a maximum fine of $10,000.5
A defendant is not eligible for drug diversion (drug treatment) in lieu of prison time if convicted under this code section.
Further, defendants can receive enhanced jail time if any of the following apply:
- they were convicted of transporting meth across two or more county lines (with intent to sell it),
- they violated the law on the grounds of a drug treatment center, a “detox” facility, or a homeless shelter,6
- they had more than one kilogram of meth in their possession,7
- they used a minor’s help to violate the statute.8
Note that if a defendant is a legal immigrant or legal alien, a conviction under HS 11378 could lead to deportation.9
4. Are there related offenses?
There are three crimes related to the sale or transportation of methamphetamines. These are:
- possession of methamphetamine – HS 11377,
- possession of methamphetamine for sale – HS 11378,
- driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) – VC 23152f,
- being under the influence of a controlled substance – HS 11550, and
- manufacturing a controlled substance – HS 11379.6.
4.1. Possession of methamphetamine – HS 11377
Per Health & Safety Code 11377, possession of meth is the crime where people unlawfully possess methamphetamines as well as certain other narcotics.
As with violations under HS 11379, defendants can challenge violations of this code section with the defense that police conducted an unlawful search and seizure.
4.2. Possession of Methamphetamine for Sale – HS 11378
Per Health and Safety Code 11378, possession of methamphetamine for sale is the crime where people possess meth with the intent to sell the drug.
Like with the sale or transportation of meth, an accused can contest a charge of this offense with the defense that they did not act with an intent to sell a drug.
4.3. Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) – VC 23152f
Under Vehicle Code 23152f HS, DUID is the crime where people drive while under the influence of drugs.
Prosecutors can charge this crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This is not true with HS 11379, which is always charged as a felony.
4.4. Being under the influence of a controlled substance – HS 11550
Under Health & Safety Code 11550 HS, being under the influence of a controlled substance is the crime where people are under the influence of a controlled substance or a narcotic drug that is not lawfully prescribed.
This is a less severe offense than selling or transporting meth. A violation of this law is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year.
4.5. Manufacturing a controlled substance – HS 11379.6
Per Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS, manufacturing a controlled substance is the crime where people make a controlled substance, like methamphetamines, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, and opiates.
Note that if a person makes meth, and then transports the drug to sell it, prosecutors can charge the party under both:
- HS 11379.6, and
- HS 11379.
For additional help…
For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer, we invite you to contact our law firm/law offices at the Shouse Law Group. Our attorneys provide both free consultations and legal advice you can trust.
Our lawyers also represent clients throughout California State, including those in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, San Diego, Newport Beach, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino, and Ventura.
- California Health & Safety Code 11379 HS.
- Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) 2300 — Sale, Transportation for Sale, etc., of Controlled Substance. See also People v. Ormiston (2003) 105 Cal.App.4th 676.
- See same.
- See, for example, People v. Zabala (2018) 19 Cal.App.5th 335.
- California Health and Safety Code 11378 HS. See also California Penal Code 1170h PC.
- California Health and Safety Code 11380.7 HS.
- California Health and Safety Code 11370.4 HS.
- California Health and Safety Code 11353 HS.
- Ruiz-Vidal v. Lynch (2015) 803 F.3d 1049.