Not all drug charges are equal. You face a variety of potential charges when law enforcement arrests you for drug distribution. In addition, there are some charges that may have aggravating factors that could lead to harsher sentences or different charges altogether.
You also should understand that distribution laws cover a few different actions. The distribution laws in California not only include selling it but also importing, transporting and transferring illegal drugs. Simply, you do not have to sell the drug to face charges.
A basic distribution charge includes selling, transferring, transporting or importing a drug within the state of California. It carries a potential prison sentence of three to nine years. For phencyclidine or methamphetamine, the potential sentence is 16 months to six years.
Note the law does permit the transporting of marijuana up to 28.5 grams by adults. This is not a crime in California for individuals over the age of 21, but marijuana remains a Schedule I drug and is illegal under federal law.
It is possible for a distribution charge to carry stiffer penalties if the state assigns it an enhancement. Enhancements are essentially circumstances in the situation. One potential enhancement is if law enforcement accuses you of distributing drugs to minors or using minors to help you distribute drugs. Carrying out the activity near a school, playground or another area where minors are often present could also be an enhancement.
Lastly, if this is not your first criminal charge or if you have a history of drug abuse, then the prosecutor could also use those things as an enhancement. Having previous drug charges is most likely to be something the prosecutor will use against you as an enhancement to seek a harsh sentence. Speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you identify your options following a drug charge.