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What are Drug Enhancements?

Health and Safety Code Section 11370.4, Drug Enhancements

The criminal justice system has many allegations that are known as enhancements. These are allegations that will increase the punishment or amount of time someone can be sentenced to if they are convicted of an underlying offense. For example, if someone is arrested for Possession for Sale or Transportation for Sale – HS11351, HS 11351.5, HS 11352, HS 11378, or 11379, and the amount possessed exceed a certain amount, the district attorney can allege enhancements that would increase the punishment.

HS 11370.4 is a common enhancement alleged in drug cases. The additional time someone can be sentenced to can range from three to 25 years. That is, if someone is charged with Possession for Sale of Heroin, HS 11351, and the amount exceeded four kilograms by weight, the additional time would include five years.

If someone is arrested and charged with HS 11379, Transportation of Methamphetamine for Sale, and the amount of methamphetamine being transported exceeded 10 kilograms by weight, the additional time would include 10 years.

To prove the enhancements, the district attorney has to establish that the underlying crime did occur – for example, the person is guilty of Transportation for Sale a Controlled Substance. Then, the district attorney must prove that the enhancement has been committed – the charged party is guilty of the underlying crime, and the amount of drugs transported, exceeded a certain amount by weight. Both of these allegations must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

HS 11370.4 is a very serious enhancement that can dramatically increase the amount of time someone can be sentenced to if convicted. There are numerous defenses available that an experienced drug lawyer may argue to fight the allegations.

Most drug charges begin with a search and seizure – therefore, an issue will almost always involve the 4th amendment and whether or not the search and seizure was constitutional. If the search and seizure were unconstitutional – not supported by a warrant and no exception to the warrant requirement, the evidence may be excluded in court. Furthermore, the 5th amendment will be issues based on statements/confessions made that were made before properly receiving Miranda rights and whether the statements/confessions were voluntary. The 6th amendment may also be an issue based on the right to confront witnesses in court. The right to reasonable bail (8th amendment) and the ability to defend the case, while not incarcerated, is another issue that may be incredibly important. These are procedural defenses and do not include substantive defenses that are case specific.

If you have been arrested or you are under investigation, please contact Kern Law, APC today. I will provide a free, confidential consultation.