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Is transportation of a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance the same criminal act

Vallejo, CA |

I have been charged with possession and transportation of a controlled substance. I am currently fighting this case now but my TWIC card was revoked when I applied for a renewal because it states that I have committed an offense in which I can be denied: “distribution of, possession with intent to distribute, or importation of a controlled substance.” I want to appeal this decision because I feel that my transportation charge and the distribution charge are two different offenses. Please advise. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. The same code section can criminalize multiple types of conduct, and often does; that's not a valid ground for appeal. When prosecutors file charges, they allege a violation of a code section which may prohibit a variety of types of conduct, like transporting or possessing with the intent to sell.
    You're also asking if you can "appeal" a decision which you simultaneously are 'currently fighting.' That's pretty confusing. You want to appeal the decision of the administrative agency who revoked your card? In that case you should get an administrative/licensing law attorney-- there are some extremely talented admin/licensing folks on Avvo (I'd recommend one in particular who is on here all the time but I think that would violate the rules of this forum.)
    As for the CRIMINAL case, please, don't try to handle this yourself. Rely on the advice of your attorney.

    Any answer provided on Avvo, including this one, is a general answer about a legal question, not specific legal advice. Different lawyers may analyze this or any other matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am licensed in the state of California and the Central District of the Ninth Circuit.

  2. I agree with my colleague, it seems that you are seeking a remedy for two different issues. Your TWIC card's revocation is an administrative decision that is likely appealable in that administrative agency. This appeal will have little effect on your criminal charges.

    To avoid a criminal conviction you will need to work with your criminal defense attorney to prepare your defense.

    Gabriela M. Lopez, Esq.

  3. I would contact TSA and see. Transportation of a controlled substance is sometimes treated like a sales offense, but you can absolutely dispute it, especially if the transportation was for personal use. Transportation is a middle ground offense in terms of how seriously it is treated (less serious than sales, but more serious than possession). If the facts of your case support your position, you may be able to renew your TWIC card.


    Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
    t: 323.803.4352 | f: 323.617.3838
    Sunset Law Building | 1295 W Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA | 90027

  4. I respectfully disagree. Transportation is punished MORE harshly than possession for sale. Ie, marijuana: 16.2.3 for sales, 2.3.4 for transportation.

    The opinions rendered herein are based on general principles of law. Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and there are often numerous factors which can render advice or an opinion inapplicable. You should NOT make any decisions about the handling of a legal matter without first directly consulting with an attorney about the particulars of your case.

  5. An analogous situation often arises in immigration courts. Distribution is grounds for deportation but transportation is not. Where the record is unclear about which happened, such as in the case of a plea where the facts are not read into the record, immigration courts have found that the assumption must favor the defendant as to which it was. The same rules apply to an administrative hearing. If, however, it is clear on the record what you did was distribution you are not going to get anywhere arguing the ambiguity if the code.

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