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In the state of California, it is illegal to possess for purposes of selling any type of synthetic drug. These drugs are often referred to as designer drugs or synthetic stimulants. A synthetic stimulant may also be known as bath salts. They are manufactured in a way so users will experience the same effects as methamphetamine, LSD and more. Should a person simply possess a synthetic drug with its intended use to be of a personal nature, they have may not committed a crime according to California law. Under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) simply possessing a synthetic drug is a punishable offense. The legal requirements and consequences under California law are covered under California Health and Safety Code § 11375.5 HSC.
Law Enforcement Investigations
Investigations into selling synthetic stimulant compounds could involve law enforcement using undercover officers. It’s also possible for a person to get arrested as part of a sting operation. Law enforcement could use confidential informants to obtain an arrest. These are individuals who provide information to law enforcement in exchange for cash or lenient punishment in their pending criminal case. It’s also possible for law enforcement to stake out a person’s home or focus on a specific area suspected of being a place where drug dealing occurs. Law enforcement will also monitor the Internet looking for people who claim to be a pharmacy. They may also use the internet to set up an undercover operation to catch someone in the act of selling synthetic stimulant compounds.
Proving Intent To Sell
A prosecutor will charge a person for possession with intent to sell if the individual has drugs that seem prepared for sale. This could include being in possession of large amounts of a synthetic stimulant compound as well as having it in baggies or bindles. They will look for a home where many people go there and only stay for a very short period of time as well as a person is in possession of scales. A prosecutor could also look to see if a person has large amounts of cash in small denominations and more.
Search And Seizure Laws
There are many different situations where law enforcement can violate the search and seizure laws in California. Law enforcement can’t legally search a home or business without a search warrant. Should law enforcement have a warrant, they aren’t permitted to move beyond what is in the search warrant. If the warrant states they can only search a house, any other building on the premises can’t be searched.
Should a prosecutor not be able to prove a person knew about the presence of a synthetic stimulant compound in their possession, they won’t be able to secure a conviction. Should a person believe the stimulant compound in their possession is not a drug, they may have the charges against them dropped. This is effective when the person charged has no legal record of previous drug use or experience.
In some situations, it is possible to prove a person was set up by police to commit a crime. This is a crime a person would not have committed without the influence of law enforcement. It is known as an affirmative defense. This requires a person to be able to prove what they say is true.
Should a person in California possess for sale or actually sell a substance categorized as a synthetic stimulant compound, they have committed a crime under California law. The first time a person is convicted, it could be considered a public offense. They will be punished with a fine of no more than two hundred fifty dollars. A second offense could again bring a punishment of a fine of no more than two hundred fifty dollars. A second offense could also be considered a misdemeanor. This punishment may involve incarceration for a period not to exceed six months or a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500) or both. A third offense will automatically be a misdemeanor. A person could be incarcerated for a period of up to six months or given a fine of no more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or both.
It is possible for innocent people to get arrested and charged with selling synthetic stimulant compounds under California Health and Safety Code § 11375.5 HSC. When this happens, they will need knowledgeable and experienced legal professional to represent them. An attorney knows how to carefully analyze the facts of a case and build a legal defense designed to obtain the best possible result.