Being charged with transportation of narcotics is often misunderstood by defendants. The California Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) for Health and Safety Code §11379 indicates that a person transports something if he or she carries or moves it from one place to another, even if the distance is short.
People most often associate transportation of drugs as moving the substance from one place to another using a vehicle. However, transportation can also include riding a bike or even walking. Taking a look at the following case will help explain this theory: In People v Ormiston, the defendant, M. Ormiston, was convicted of transporting methamphetamine, in addition to several other drug related charges. Ormiston appealed, indicating that his transportation conviction was based on the arresting officers observing him walking across a parking lot, while in possession of methamphetamine. Ormiston argued that he should not have been convicted of the offense of transportation of methamphetamine without the use of a vehicle.
The facts of this case were that on November 25, 1998, officers from a local drug task force received information that Ormiston had purchased an amount of ephedrine pills, a precursor used in the production of methamphetamine, and that Ormiston was staying at a hotel in Pleasant Hill, California. The task force officers were alerted to Ormiston’s presence at the hotel and upon their arrival, officers observed Ormiston walking in the parking lot, away from the hotel. Ormiston was observed throwing his hotel room key into some shrubbery and was immediately detained and arrested. A subsequent search of Ormiston’s person by officers found that Ormiston possessed three baggies of methamphetamine and a digital scale.
In his appeal Ormiston claimed that no evidence existed to support his conviction for transportation of methamphetamine. The California First District Court of Appeal, which heard this case, disagreed and found that Ormiston indeed, committed transportation of methamphetamine by means of walking. In its discussion, the Court found that the word “transport,” as used in Health and Safety Code §11379 had no technical definition, but rather is commonly understood. The court referred to a 1995 case called People v Meza wherein transportation of a controlled substance was found to be established by carrying or conveying a usable quantity of a controlled substance with knowledge of its presence and illegal character.
The evidence in the Ormiston case clearly established the movement of methamphetamine from one place to another, by means of walking. The Court found that Ormiston’s use of walking, as opposed to driving, did not invalidate the element of transportation.
If you have been arrested or charged with Drug Transportation or other criminal offense, contact The Law Office of Nicolai Cocis and Associates. Our office is located near the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California. We represent individuals charged with Criminal Offenses, DUI and Juvenile Matters in the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Corona and Riverside areas.