What to Do If You Are Facing Drug Manufacturing Charges
California Health & Safety Code Section 11379.6 prohibits all types of illegal manufacturing of controlled substances. Under this law, it is illegal to manufacture, compound, convert, produce, derive, process or prepare any type of controlled substance. If you are convicted of manufacturing controlled substances in California, you could face up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $50,0000.
Understanding the Charges
Manufacturing drugs is typically charged as a felony offense. This type of drug crime could be charged as a crime under state or federal law because there are stringent state and federal laws that prohibit the manufacturing of controlled substances. Federal drug charges generally result in harsher penalties and longer prison sentences. So, if you have been accused of manufacturing drugs, it is important to seek the counsel of a defense lawyer who has a thorough understanding of state and federal drug laws.
In order to convict someone of manufacturing drugs, the prosecution must prove that the defendant participated in the production and manufacturing of the controlled substance and that he or she did not have licensing or credentials to manufacture the drugs. The prosecution need not prove that you completed the production or manufacturer of the drugs. All they need to prove is that you were involved or participated in the production of a controlled substance.
If you are convicted of manufacturing controlled substances, you may be looking at up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. This prison sentence could be even longer if you have a prior drug conviction. The punishment could also hinge on the quantity of drugs produced, if children were involved or if someone was injured or killed in the process. Federal convictions carry even more severe punishments.
If large quantities of drugs are involved, the defendant may be looking at additional penalties – possibly up to 15 years of additional prison time. It is important to remember that a conviction does not require that the defendant finish the process of manufacturing the drugs. It only involves knowingly participating in the beginning or intermediate steps to manufacture a controlled substance. Here are some of the factors that could result in increased penalties:
- A child or person under the age of 16 lived in the location where the drugs were manufactured.
- The drugs were manufactured within 200 feet of an occupied residence or structure with other persons present.
- Use of dangerous substances to process the drugs within 300 feet of an occupied residence or occupied structure.
Manufacturing drugs can also involve other criminal charges relating to drug sale, gang activity, weapons charges and organized crime. This could result in multiple felony charges with major consequences. A felony conviction will also affect your right to own a gun, serve on a jury and make it extremely difficult to find housing or employment.
What Are Your Legal Defenses?
There are a number of legal defenses that may be used to fight the charges against you. Here are some of those defenses:
- Your acts were “preparatory,” which means that you were only preparing to manufacture the controlled substances, but hadn’t done so. Just having the intent to manufacture drugs is not enough to obtain a conviction. You are not in violation of Health and Safety Code 11379.6 unless you commit the act of manufacturing the controlled substances or drugs.
For example, if the defendant is apprehended with a variety of utensils used to make methamphetamine or weigh the drugs, but meth is nowhere to be found, then, he or she cannot be charged with manufacturing drugs. The defendant in such cases could be charged with possession of paraphernalia, which is a misdemeanor.
- The drugs or evidence was illegally seized. If the police arrested you in violation of California’s search and seizure laws, your charges should be dismissed. This means that if the police enter your property without probable cause, a valid search warrant or perform a search that is beyond the scope of the warrant, then the law says that such evidence must be excluded from your case. At the very least, your charges may be significantly reduced if not fully dismissed.
- You cannot be charged with drug manufacturing if you were not actually involved in the process. It is common for drug users to visit homes where drugs are being manufactured in order buy drugs. If an individual is present on the property while buying drugs, but was in no way involved in the process of manufacturing the controlled substances, he or she cannot be charged with drug manufacturing. While such individuals may be prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance in some cases, they cannot be prosecuted for manufacturing drugs.
- Often times, these charges are filed against individuals based on mistaken identity. For example, an eyewitness may identify the wrong person or police may obtain information from an unreliable source or informant. An experienced drug crime defense lawyer will explore these factors and more to effectively argue the case.
In some cases, a skilled drug crime defense attorney can help look for ways to get the punishment lowered or avoid jail or prison time. For example, if the defendant has been charged with manufacturing drugs, but can show evidence that the drugs were for personal use only and not for sale, could face a lesser penalty. There are also cases where tools or equipment that are used to manufacture drugs may have other applications.
If a defendant can show that the equipment was not bought or used to make narcotics, he or she may be found not guilty of a manufacturing charge. An experienced California criminal defense lawyer who has successfully handled these types of cases can help evaluate your specific situation and help you effectively fight the charges.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Drug manufacturing charges are complex and present serious consequences and lifelong repercussions for defendants. If you are facing these types of charges, you need an experienced California drug crime defense lawyer early on in the process so you can get the best possible result. Call our California criminal defense law firm for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.