In a few months, California will officially legalize the use of recreational marijuana. This does not mean that using or selling marijuana will always be legal. There will still be serious consequences for breaking the law. Selling drugs to minors – including marijuana – is and will continue to be illegal. One San Diego mother recently learned this lesson the hard way. In September, Kimberly Dawn Quach was arrested for selling marijuana and other drugs to high school students in Carmel Valley. She faces criminal drug charges for employing a minor to sell or carry marijuana and furnishing marijuana to a minor. If you’re facing drug-related charges, see our guide on finding a good criminal defense attorney.
Using a Minor to Sell Drugs
In San Diego, it is a crime to involve minors in transactions involving marijuana. This includes using minors to sell, distribute, or carry marijuana on your behalf. It is a crime under California Health and Safety Code Section 11361 HS to:
- Hire, employ, or use a minor to unlawfully;
- Transport, carry, sell, give away, prepare, or peddle;
- Any marijuana.
The prosecution will have to prove a few things in order to convict Quach of this crime. If they cannot prove each of the following elements, Quach cannot be found guilty of the crime. The prosecution must prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) that Quach:
- Was over the age of 18 at the time of the offense;
- Hired, employed, or used someone that she knew was under the age of 18;
- To transport/carry/sell marijuana.
It is important to understand that compensation is not an element. Quach can be guilty of this crime even if she did not pay the minor to carry or sell the marijuana.
Using a minor to sell or transport marijuana is a felony offense. Quach is charged with 10 counts of this crime. If convicted, Quach could face 3, 5, or 7 years in prison for each of these counts.
Furnishing Marijuana to a Minor in San Diego
It is also a crime to sell or give marijuana to a minor in San Diego. California Health and Safety Code Section 11361 HS specifically states that it is a crime to “furnish, administer, or give…cannabis to a minor.” It is also a crime to offer marijuana to a minor. A person can be guilty of this crime even if they do not directly sell or give marijuana to a minor. It is enough to enlist another person to sell or give the drugs to the minor.
Selling marijuana to a minor is a felony offense. The severity of the crime depends on the age of the minor. Selling marijuana to a minor under the age of 14 carries a possible criminal sentence of 3, 5, or 7 years in prison. Furnishing marijuana to a minor over the age of 14 carries a possible criminal sentence of 3, 4, or 5 years in prison.
Quach faces 16 counts of furnishing marijuana to a minor over the age of 14. She could face 3, 4, or 5 years in prison for each of those offenses.
Consequences of a Drug Related Conviction in San Diego
A conviction will likely make Quach’s life incredibly difficult. She faces serious time in prison and steep fines for her crimes. In addition to these criminal consequences, Quach would be faced with other challenges in her life. Collateral consequences are penalties and sanctions that are related to a criminal conviction. A criminal record, especially one that reflects a felony conviction, can:
- Result in the loss of your right to vote;
- Revoke your right to carry a firearm;
- Limit your ability to get a government job;
- Limit your ability to work in a school or healthcare facility; and
- Make you ineligible to recover financial assistance or aid from government welfare programs.
Quach may also face challenges in finding employment or housing. Many applications ask about your criminal record. Employers and landlords may not want to work with Quach if they see multiple convictions on her record. Quach will also have to deal with the social stigma that is associated with a criminal record.
Skilled San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with a crime in San Diego do not hesitate to contact an attorney. Our skilled San Diego criminal defense attorneys can help to limit the negative consequences of your arrest. We understand that your future is at stake. We will fight to make sure that your legal rights are protected and that you are given every opportunity to defend yourself. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation. The sooner you call, the sooner we can start working on your case.