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Health And Safety Code 11378 HS - Possession Of Meth For Sale


Under California Health and Safety Code 11378 HS, possession of methamphetamine for sale is considered a serious drug crime. This statute outlines the illegal act of possessing a controlled substance, specifically methamphetamine, with the intention of distributing or selling it.

When discussing HS 11378, the concept of “intent” is different from the actual act of selling or transporting the illegal drug. Methamphetamine is listed as a controlled substance according to HS 11378 due to its classification as a Schedule II stimulant.

The offense of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to sell, as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 11378, is different from the offense of simple possession, which is prosecuted under Health and Safety Code Section 11377. Being charged with a violation of HS 11378 does not necessarily require being caught in the act of physically selling methamphetamine. The accusation typically revolves around the defendant being in possession of a certain quantity of methamphetamine with the intent to sell the narcotics, either immediately or at a later time.

Health and Safety Code 11378 includes various other controlled substances like opiates, ketamine, ecstasy, GHB, and PCP. The intention to sell methamphetamine can be proven based on multiple factors like the quantity of meth in possession, the presence of baggies and a scale, a large amount of cash, and any indications that the methamphetamine was not intended for personal use.

11378 HS: Except as otherwise provided in Article 7 (commencing with Section 4110) of Chapter 9 of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code, a person who possesses for sale a controlled substance that meets any of the following criteria shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code:

(1) The substance is classified in Schedule III, IV, or V and is not a narcotic drug, except the substance specified in subdivision (g) of Section 11056.

(2) The substance is specified in subdivision (d) of Section 11054, except paragraphs (13), (14), (15), (20), (21), (22), and (23) of subdivision (d).

(3) The substance is specified in paragraph (11) of subdivision (c) of Section 11056.

(4) The substance is specified in paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (f) of Section 11054.

(5) The substance is specified in subdivision (d), (e), or (f), except paragraph (3) of subdivision (e) and subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (f), of Section 11055.


Meth Laws in California

Under California law, it is illegal to possess, sell, transport, or manufacture methamphetamine.

  • Possession of methamphetamine can result in a misdemeanor charge under California Health and Safety Code 11377, under certain circumstances, such charges may even be dismissed pursuant to a drug diversion program (Penal Code section 1000).
  • Selling methamphetamine or transporting it with the intent to sell, however, is a much more serious crime and  is charged as a felony crime under California Health and Safety Code 11379. Penalties may include fines and/or imprisonment for two, three, or five years.
  • Possessing methamphetamine with the intent to sell is also a felony under California Health and Safety Code 11378,; penalties include fines and/or imprisonment for 16 months, two, or three years.

A conviction for possession, sale, or transportation of methamphetamine can have serious consequences, including on employment and housing opportunities.

Elements – California Penal Code 11378 PC

To secure a conviction for possession of meth with intent to sell in violation of Health and Safety Code 11378, the prosecutor must prove specific factors beyond a reasonable doubt. These factors are outlined in CALCRIM 2302 Jury instructions. They include:

  • Unlawful possession: The defendant must have knowingly and unlawfully possessed a controlled substance, specifically methamphetamine.
  • Knowledge: The prosecution must establish that the defendant was aware of the presence of the methamphetamine and knew that it was a controlled substance
  • Quantity: The amount of methamphetamine possessed by the defendant must be sufficient to indicate an intention to sell or distribute it.
  • Intent to sell: The prosecution needs to demonstrate that the defendant possessed the methamphetamine with the specific intent to sell it.

Possession of meth can be proven in different ways.

  • Actual possession: This means that the meth was physically found on the person, such as in their pockets or hands.
  • Constructive possession: In this case, the meth was not found on the person directly, but it was located in an area under their control, like their residence or vehicle.
  • Joint possession: This refers to a situation where multiple individuals share control or access to the meth.

In order to establish possession of meth for sales, prosecutors often rely on various types of evidence. This may include the quantity of drugs, how they were packaged, the presence of a large amount of cash, the existence of scales, and the absence of drug paraphernalia.

By presenting such evidence, the prosecutor aims to demonstrate the defendant’s intent to sell or distribute the meth.

Is HS 11378 A Felony or Misdemeanor Crime California?

Conviction of possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell under Health and Safety Code Section 11378 is always classified as a felony offense.

11378 HS Prop 47

Proposition 47, passed by California voters on November 4, 2014, made certain non-serious and nonviolent drug offenses, including simple possession of methamphetamine, eligible for reduced charges from a felony to a misdemeanor. While Proposition 47 allows for the reduction of certain drug offenses to misdemeanors, HS 11378, which specifically deals with possession of methamphetamine for sale, is not eligible for reduction under this proposition. This means that if a person is convicted of possession of methamphetamine for sale under HS 11378, it would still be considered a felony offense.

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What is the Penalty for HS 11378 – Possession of Meth For Sale?

If found guilty, the potential penalties include:

  • The defendant may face a prison term ranging from 16 months to 3 years in a California state prison.
  • The court can impose fines of up to $10,000.
  • Formal felony probation can be granted as part of the sentence.

In addition to these penalties, there are various sentencing enhancements that can apply based on aggravating factors:

  • If the methamphetamine possession occurred within 1,000 feet of a drug treatment facility or homeless shelter, an additional one-year sentence enhancement can be imposed.
  • Possession of more than one kilogram of meth can result in an additional three to fifteen years in state prison.
  • If the defendant used a minor to sell the meth, the judge can order an extra three, six, or nine years of imprisonment.
  • If a defendant used a minor to assist in drug sales, they may also face additional charges under California Penal Code 272.

How to Fight HS 11378 Possessing Meth For Sale Charges

Unlawful Search and Seizure

One common defense against possession of methamphetamine for sale charges (HS 11378) is arguing against an unlawful search and seizure. If law enforcement obtained the evidence through illegal means that violated your Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures, your attorney can argue that the evidence has to be suppressed and cannot be used against you.

Law enforcement must have a valid search warrant signed by a magistrate, establishing probable cause, in order to search someone. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as when the evidence is in plain view of the police, when it is found during a search incident to arrest, or under the Gant exception for searching the passenger compartment of a vehicle.

Please note; many searches conducted by law enforcement are warrantless searches that are still upheld in California criminal courts. To determine whether there are valid challenges that could lead to a successful outcome, it is crucial to review the specific details of your case. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with an experienced criminal attorney in Los Angeles who can assess your situation and potentially file a California Penal Code 1538.5 PC motion to suppress the evidence.

Not Intend To Sell

In order to prosecute someone for possession of methamphetamine with the intent to sell under HS 11378, it is necessary to establish the element of intent. However, if you were in possession of the methamphetamine solely for personal use, you could instead be charged with the lesser offense of simple drug possession under Health and Safety Code 11377.


One potential defense strategy is to argue for the reduction of the sales charges to a simple possession charge, which would make you eligible for a drug diversion program. This is because a simple drug possession charge is more favorable, with less severe penalties and the possibility of having the charge reduced to a misdemeanor. Furthermore, if any jail time is necessary, it would be served in a county jail instead of a California state prison.

Successfully using this defense will depend on whether there is evidence of drug sales activity, such as the quantity of methamphetamine involved, the presence of large amounts of cash, and the presence of paraphernalia commonly associated with drug sales, like baggies and scales.

Immigration Consequences:

Depending on various factors such as the specific circumstances of the case and the defendant’s immigration status, possession for sale of methamphetamine under California Health & Safety Code § 11378 can have immigration consequences including deportation, inadmissibility, and being considered a crime involving moral turpitude.

To fully understand the immigration consequences specific to HS 11378 in California, it is recommended to consult with an immigration attorney who specializes in the field. If you do not have or know of an immigration lawyer, the Tabibnia Law Firm can refer you to one.

Source: ILRC – Quick Reference Chart for Determining Immigration Consequences

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Contact Tabibnia Law Firm For Legal Help

If you or a loved one is facing charges for methamphetamine sales under Health and Safety Code Section 11378, we recommend reaching out to Tabibnia Law office at 866-713-2159. A skilled Los Angeles drug crime defense attorney, Mr. Cyrus Tabibnia, can review your case details and discuss the available options.

Mr. Tabibnia will diligently work on preparing a strategic defense to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. This may include negotiating with the prosecutor for reduced charges or even getting the case dismissed. Understand the drug offender registry in California if you have been convicted of certain drug offenses.

If you have been arrested on drug-related charges, consult with an experienced Los Angeles drug crime defense attorney from Tabibnia Law Firm.

Tabibnia Law Firm is serving its clients throughout Southern California including Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Orange County, Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, Ventura county, Riverside County, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach, Palmdale, Santa Clarita, Monterey Park, La Puente, Van Nuys, Pomona, Manhattan Beach, West Covina, Whittier, Downey, Woodland Hills, Norwalk, Torrance, Redondo Beach, San Bernardino, Walnut Creek, Inglewood, Lancaster, Westlake Village and nearby areas.

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

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