Penal Code 186.10 PC /
Health & Safety Code 11370.9 HS

Here the defendant or defendant essentially takes money obtained illegally and “cleans” it, making it legal by making sure that the money cannot be traced back to its illegal source.

However, in California, this crime is defined much more broadly than its traditional meaning above. Once can be guilty of this crime if he knowingly takes money through the bank knowing of its obtained through illegal means regardless of the intent to make the money clean.

The legislature passed these series of  laws to combat individuals (and organized crime lords) who obtain money from the transport and sale of illegal substances such as drugs.

Money laundering laws leads to the arrest of many individuals  who are not drug lords. If you are financially involved with anyone who is making money from any illegal activity, you could be charged even if you have nothing to do with the criminal activity.

California criminal law on money laundering has two major parts:

* Penal Code 186.10 Crime-related money.
* Health & Safety Code 11370.9  – Money obtained from drug related crimes.


Money Laundering is a WOBBLER in California which means that it could be charged as a misdemeanor (County Jail and fines) or a felony (State Prison and fines).


Over and above constitutional defenses, there are other defenses such as your intent and the amount of money obtained from an illegal activity.