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Possession With Intent to Sell

Possession with Intent to Sell – Health and Safety Code §11351

Under the Health and Safety Code §11351, it is illegal to possess a controlled substance with the intent to sell. A controlled substance may be either an illicit drug, or a prescription drug. The way prosecutors differentiate between simple possession of a controlled substance, verses possession with the intent to sell, is based on various factors that they look for. Some of these red flags are; when the drug is pre-packaged in several bags or containers, when there is a large quantity of a drug, when there is a lot of cash or other evidence that may suggest the intent to sell.

This leaves the prosecutor with a lot of discretion in deciding whether or not to file serious charges for possession with intent to sell, as opposed to a less serious charge of possession of a controlled substance. Possession with intent to sell is a straight felony, which means it can not be charged as a misdemeanor, nor can a conviction under this code ever be reduced. The punishment for this offense is either probation with up to a year of county jail, or State Prison for 2, 3, or 4 years. There are also various enhancing factors that may exist, depending on the controlled substance and the quantity of it.

There are three (3) ways you can possess a controlled substance with intent to sell,

  1. Actual possession of the substance : when the officer’s find the substance on your person,
  2. Constructive Possession : when the substance is found in an area you control,
  3. Joint Possession : when you and someone else have actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance.


If you or a loved one has been arrested, or is being investigated for this offense, it is important to contact our office right away. We can take proactive steps to contact the prosecutor before charges are filed. It is imperative to act quickly in efforts of getting the prosecutor to file the case as a simple possession charge, not possession of intent to sell. Also, there are many defenses in fighting this type of case. A knowledgeable attorney will explain all of your possible defenses, and can truly impact the outcome of your case and your future.