California drug laws are strict enough they also cover the sale of fake drugs. Legally defined as substitute substances, anyone who is caught selling fake drugs as a way of making money without ever selling real drugs is still liable. You will be punished by the full extent of the law, even if you were never in possession of legitimate drugs. According to the California Health & Safety Code Section 11355 HSC, the sale of substitute drugs, otherwise known as fake drugs, illegal and punishable by law. Even if it’s not an authentic or real drug, it’s still punishable by law if you sell it as a real drug in an otherwise real drug transaction.
Selling drugs in California is illegal whether they are legal or illegal drugs. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pharmacist selling prescription drugs in excess amounts to patients who have a prescription for that drug or someone who has leftover drugs from their doctor and you want to make a few dollars. You are breaking the law, and the punishment is severe.
Penalties for Selling Fake Drugs
Substitute substance charges can go either way. The court can charge you with a misdemeanor for selling fake drugs, or they can make the executive decision to charge you with a felony. The deciding factor is your own criminal history as well as the details of the crime you committed. For example, if you’re a first time criminal without any record and you’ve never been in trouble, you’re probably going to see this charge come through as a misdemeanor. This means up to a year in jail as well as fines.
If you have multiple offenses for drug-related arrests on your record, a judge might decide you’re not going to get away with a mere misdemeanor. Most judges will make the decision to try you as a felon, which means you face much more expensive fines, a longer sentence in jail, and you’ll also face issues such as a felony record. This could mean you’ll spend as many as three years in jail in addition to the expensive fines and penalties you’ll pay.
How a Substitute Substance Charge is Proven
If you’re arrested and charged with a substitute substance charge, the court has to prove you are guilty of selling fake drugs to a customer. There are several factors that go into proving you did this, and there are several factors that must be proven before a judge can find you guilty of this crime.
– You must have an agreed upon agreement to provide a person with any type of drug that’s considered a controlled substance
– You must have actually provided the agreed upon substance to the customer you agreed to provide it to at some point as a fake
There must be an agreement in place to exchange a substance for money, and an exchange of that substance for money must occur for you to be found guilty of this crime. The substance must be a fake, too. If it is the real thing, you’re facings stricter and more serious penalties for the crime you committed.
Say, for example, someone approaches you and offers you $50 to sell him one of your prescription painkillers following a serious injury you endured. You have these painkillers on hand, and you’re not really taking them anymore and you have some you know you won’t use. You think it’s a great way to make $50 but you don’t want to get in trouble, so you say yes and offer the guy a nondescript painkiller you bought over the counter at the grocery store. He has no idea it’s not the real thing.
However, you just sold a substitute substance, and you could go to jail and face fines for that. You agreed to sell the man a specific drug, even if that’s not what you gave him. If he asked you for something that would help him feel better and you offered him a painkiller without saying anything and he gave you money in return without comment, there was no agreement and you cannot be arrested. The penal code in California is specific, and you must understand what it means to be guilty of the sale of a substitute substance in you’re arrested for this.