Transportation of a controlled substance is the possession of a controlled substance, such as methamphetamine, with the intent to give it to another person and the slight movement of the controlled substance.

Standard Punishment

2 , 3, or 4 years

Relevant Statutes

Health & Safety Code §11379

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b) and in Article 7 (commencing with Section 4211) of Chapter 9 of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code, every person who transports, imports into this state, sells, furnishes, administers, or gives away, or offers to transport, import into this state, sell, furnish, administer, or give away, or attempts to import into this state or transport any controlled substance which is (1) classified in Schedule III, IV, or V and which is not a narcotic drug, except subdivision (g) of Section 11056, (2) specified in subdivision (d) of Section 11054, except paragraphs (13), (14), (15), (20), (21), (22), and (23) of subdivision (d), (3) specified in paragraph (11) of subdivision (c) of Section 11056, (4) specified in paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (f) of Section 11054, or (5) specified in subdivision (d) or (e), except paragraph (3) of subdivision (e), or specified in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (f), of Section 11055, unless upon the prescription of a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or veterinarian, licensed to practice in this state, shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for a period of two, three, or four years.

(b) Notwithstanding the penalty provisions of subdivision (a), any person who transports any controlled substances specified in subdivision (a) within this state from one county to another noncontiguous county shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for three, six, or nine years.

(c) For purposes of this section, “transports” means to transport for sale.

(d) Nothing in this section is intended to preclude or limit prosecution under an aiding and abetting theory, accessory theory, or a conspiracy theory.

Standard Jury Instruction

The jury will generally be instructed pursuant to CalCrim 2300, which is summarized as follows

The defendant is charged with giving away methamphetamine, a controlled substance in violation of Health & Safety Code §11379.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
prove that:
1. The defendant gave away or sold a controlled substance;
2. The defendant knew of its presence;
3. The defendant knew of the substance’s nature or character as a controlled substance;
4. When the defendant transported the controlled substance, he intended to sell it.
5. The controlled substance was in a usable amount.

Selling for the purpose of this instruction means exchanging a controlled substance for money, services, or anything of value.

A person transports for sale if he or she carries or moves something from one location to another for sale, even if the distance is short.

A person administers a substance if he or she applies it directly to the body of another person by injection, or by any other means, or causes the other person to inhale, ingest, or otherwise consume the substance.

A usable amount is a quantity that is enough to be used by someone as a controlled substance. Useless traces or debris are not usable amounts. On the other hand, a usable amount does not have to be
enough, in either amount or strength, to affect the user.

The People do not need to prove that the defendant knew which specific controlled substance he sold or gave away.

A person does not have to actually hold or touch something to sell or give it away. It is enough if the person has control over it or the right to control it, either personally or through another person.

Special Jury Instructions

The following case law may be of benefit in preparing special jury instructions to defend against a transportation of controlled substance charge.

“[To] transport means to carry or convey from one place to another . . . [t]he crux of the crime of transporting Is movement of the contraband from one place to another.” Without such movement from one place to another, the crime of transporting narcotics or dangerous drugs is not committed.
Authority: Quoted language is from People v. Cortez, 166 Cal. App. 3d 994, 998 (1985).

“[M]ore than mere presence [of the Defendant] must be shown in order to establish constructive possession [of a controlled substance] . . .”
Authority: Quoted language is from People v. Kolerich, 40 Cal. App. 4th 283, 295..

“[O]nly knowing possession of controlled substances is proscribed” by law. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s possession was a “knowing possession” of a useable substance – more than useless traces or residue – as an element of the crime of possession of a controlled substance since a nonknowing possession of a useable controlled substance is not a crime.
Authority: Quoted language is from People v. Rubacalba, 6 Cal. 4th 62, 66 (1993).

“The essential elements of possession of a controlled substance are
(l) “[D]ominion and control of the substance;
(2) “[I]n a quantity usable for consumption or sale;
(3) “[K]nowledge of its presence; and
(4) “[O]f its restricted dangerous drug character.”
Authority: Quoted language is from People v. Palaschak, 9 Cal. 4th 1236, 1242 (1995).

“In a prosecution for possession of a controlled substance, knowledge of the character of the substance possessed is an essential element of the crime.”
Authority: Exact quotation from People v. Coria, 21 Cal.4th 868, (1999) citing People v. Williams, 5 Cal. 3d 211 (1971).


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