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HS 11351 is one of the most common drug crimes. Oftentimes, law enforcement searches you or your car and sees that you have more drugs on you than an normal person would, and that you have more cash on you than the average person, and they assume you are a drug dealer because it looks bad. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, many users have more drugs than usual simply because it is cheaper when they buy in higher quantities. Or, they simply have more so that it lasts them longer, which is completely different from being someone who actually sells the drugs to others.

To be convicted of HS 11351, the prosecutor must prove 5 elements:

  1. The defendant possessed the drugs (exercised control over the drugs or purchased the drugs)
  2. The defendant knew of its presence
  3. The defendant knew that it was a controlled substance
  4. The substance is at least in an amount that is enough for sale or use
  5. The defendant had the intent to sell it

Element 1 refers to possession. Control means that the defendant simply had control of the drugs. It does not require that the drugs be ON the defendant’s body. For instance, if you had it in the glove compartment of your car, you were still able to control its whereabouts, and that is enough for “possession.”

In element 3, a “controlled substance” is anything that is regulated by the government. An illegal drug, such has cocaine, ecstasy, mushrooms, etc., would be considered a controlled substance.


A conviction of Possession of Controlled Substance for Sale (HS 11351) carries a maximum sentence of 4 years in state prison.

Defenses Against Possession of Controlled Substance for Sale (HS 11351)

  1. You did not have the INTENT to sell.

If you possessed the drugs but did not have the intent to sell the drugs, that could be a different charge, but not Possession of Controlled Substance for Sale (HS 11351) because you had no intent to sell the drugs.

2. You did not know the drugs were there or you did not have possession of the drugs.

Let’s say you are driving a friend’s car and you are pulled over. For whatever reason, law enforcement searches your car and finds the drugs, but you did not know anything about it because you were just borrowing the car. This means that element 2 is not satisfied. Also, because you did not know the controlled substance was there, you did not have possession of the controlled substance because you did not even know that it was there. And because you did not know the drugs were even there, you did not know that the drugs were a controlled substance, which makes element 3 impossible to satisfy.

3. The amount was not a usable amount or an amount that a person would sell.

For instance, the amount of drugs was so small that it was at a level that a person would not even use. If this is the case, then element 4 is not met.

4. Lastly, as is the case with all types of criminal charges, if there is police misconduct and law enforcement performed an illegal search and found the drugs, your criminal defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress the evidence, in this case, the controlled substance.


Possession of Controlled Substance for Sale HS 11351 is a felony and there are many different ways of fighting these types of criminal charges. We will work to find every defense possible, whether it’s because your constitutional rights were violated or because you simply did not know that the controlled substance was there. Call our firm to discuss your case. Consultations are free. We are located in Orange County but also serve LA County, Riverside County, San Bernardino, and all of southern California. We conduct business with our clients in person and remotely. Our phone number is 213-235-7969 and we look forward to discussing your case with you.

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