Drug crimes can be costly and disruptive but it can be a particularly petrifying experience to be convicted on the charges of manufacturing drugs in California. Court authorities and law enforcement agencies are always aggressive in pursuing non-violent drug possession charges. As such, when authorities feel that they have a solid case against an offender, they are more likely to pursue severe penalties. Manufacturing drugs is a felony offense in California. When convicted, the offender can be subjected to a maximum of seven years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. However, that’s only if the charge is simple and unrelated to federal charges or additional criminal accusations like a violent act, gang-related activity, or racketeering.
If you or a loved one is accused of manufacturing drugs or narcotics, consulting with an experienced, uncompromising criminal defense attorney who understands the ins and outs of the legal landscape of Southern California and can aggressively fight your drug charge. The attorneys at Long Beach Criminal Lawyer understand that innocent people are accused of crimes every day and also, good people make mistakes. We’ll work to have your charges dismissed or reduced as much as possible. Contact us today at 562-304-5121.
Understanding California Health and Safety Code Section 11379.6
California HS 11379.6 proscribes any form of activity that lends itself to the process of manufacturing narcotics. This involves manufacturing, converting, compounding, deriving, producing, processing, preparing or offering to engage in any of these acts with respect to any controlled substance stated under HS 11054- 11058.6. This simply means that you don’t need to have taken part in the actual processing of the controlled substance to be held liable for drug manufacturing. Just being in possession of a precursor chemical known to be used in the process of manufacturing a controlled substance is indictable.
In fact, under California under HS 11383 the presumption is that an individual in immediate possession of precursors, if sufficient for manufacturing controlled substances, will be assumed to be in possession of the controlled substance. For instance, possession of hydriodic acid with the sole intent of manufacturing methamphetamine is considered illegal. It’s worth noting that you can violate California’s law against drug manufacturing even if you don’t necessarily complete the process. You’re considered guilty as soon as you knowingly participate in the first or transitional steps involved in processing a drug.
A controlled substance refers to any substance for which use, manufacture, distribution, and possession require a license by the government because it’s regulated under the United States “Controlled Substance Act.” Controlled substances are further categorized into five schedules as follows:
- HS 11054 categorizes opiates as Schedule I Drugs’
- HS 11055 categorizes raw opium as Schedule II Drugs.
- HS 11056 categorizes stimulants as Schedule III Drugs.
- HS 11057 classifies narcotic drugs as Schedule IV Drugs.
- HS 11058 categorizes narcotic drugs containing nonnarcotic active medicinal ingredients as Schedule V Drugs.
Commonly manufactured controlled substances include morphine, steroids, ecstasy, cocaine, PCP, LSD, and methamphetamines.
Precursor Chemical is any substance or compound required for the process of manufacturing a controlled substance.
Generally, to attach criminal liability to HS 11379.6, there are two elements that the prosecutor must prove:
- Possession: The defendant had control, dominion, or ownership of illegal substance
- Intent: The defendant partook in the production or extended a suggestion to manufacture a controlled substance
- The defendant did not have the licensed credentials to do so
Penalties and Punishments for Manufacturing a Controlled Substance in California
California’s law against drug manufacturing is a felony and is punishable by 3, 5, or 7 years in the California State prison and a fine not exceeding $50,000. Also, at sentencing, a judge could decide to impose a formal probation and a maximum of one year in a county jail instead of state prison time. Those convicted of offering to manufacture drugs also face a felony punishable either by (a) 3, 4, or 5 years in jail, or (b) probation and or a maximum of one year in jail.
Enhancements for Drug Manufacturing
There are various statutory aggravating factors that could result in lengthier sentences. If convicted of manufacturing illicit substances, the prosecuting attorney could request additional penalties based on the following:
If convicted of manufacturing or even conspiring to manufacture a substance believed to contain GHB, methamphetamines and/or PCP, you face the following additional and consecutive terms based on the volume of the substance.
- 3 years if the substance exceeds one pound of solid weight or 3 gallons of liquid by volume
- 5 years where the substance is more than 3 pounds of solid weight or 10 gallons of liquid
- 10 years if the substance weighs more than 10 pounds of solid or 25 gallons of liquid, and
- 15 years where the substance exceeds 44 pounds of solid or 105 gallons of liquid.
(b)Great Bodily Injury or Death
If convicted of manufacturing controlled substances or even attempting to manufacture one of those drugs, and the death or great bodily injury of another individual other than an accomplice occurs as a result of the offense, you may face an additional one year sentence in the state prison for each injury or death.
(c)Manufacturing Drugs Near an Occupied Structure or in the Presence of Children
If convicted of manufacturing methamphetamines near playgrounds, schools, worshipping places, where children lived, or where children were present or harmed, it’s likely that you’ll be required to serve a longer sentence. This also applies if convicted of manufacturing methamphetamines within 200 feet of an occupied residence or any other structure where a person was present at that particular time. If a child under 16 years was present when you were manufacturing or attempting to manufacture PCP or methamphetamines, you’re likely to face 2 additional and consecutive years in the state prison addition and consecutive to the term you received for the underlying violation.
However, if a child below 16 years sustained great bodily injury according to California law, you face a 5 years prison term in addition and consecutive to the term you received for the underlying violation.
(d)Prior drug-related convictions
If convicted of manufacturing drugs and have a prior conviction of a variety of drug-related offenses, like
- HS 11352 California’s law against transporting of selling a controlled substance,
- HS 11351 California’s law against possessing a controlled substance for sale, and
- HS 11379 California’s law against selling methamphetamines or HS 11378 California’s law against possessing methamphetamines for sale
you face an additional and consecutive 3-year sentence for each prior felony conviction, irrespective of whether the prior conviction resulted in a prison term or not.
This is an alternative sentencing option that allows drug treatment in lieu of a prison or jail sentence for nonviolent drug offenders. California’s drug diversion programs include Penal Code 1000 PC, Proposition 36, and California drug court. The benefit of this sentencing is that if you effectively complete the program, you can to avoid custody time and your charges will likely be dismissed. Nonetheless, the program is not available for everyone and has several limitations.
The main huddle is that the offense must be connected to a simple possession of a controlled substance for personal use. You may be able to participate in any of these programs if your criminal defense attorney can convince the prosecuting attorney
- That you were only manufacturing the illicit substance for your own personal use and not for sale, or
- To permit you to plea bargain for simple possession, which is a lesser offense.
Factors for Mitigating Drug Manufacturing Charges
If you’ve been charged with drug manufacturing after you were caught with a finished product, it may appear like your legal defense is limited. There can be a way out of the mess and the best strategy is to exhaust all the possible ways to mitigate the punishment. To realize this, you will need to work with a skilled defense attorney who can establish the most effective strategy for your case. Several mitigating factors a seasoned drug manufacturing criminal defense attorney can argue to have the court order less severe penalties include:
- Reduce the quantity of the product
- Reduce the size of Lab
- Reduce the quantity of the controlled substance
Skillfully reducing these factors could down a case for intent for production to personal use. This could help reduce your liability and drastically lower the potential sentence.
Possible Legal Defenses to California’s Drug Manufacturing Charges
While drug manufacturing offenses are treated and punished severely, there are several legal defenses applicable to the charges that an experienced drug crimes defense attorney can present to the courts on your behalf. Some of the most common include:
- Your Acts Were Just Preparatory
Even if you had the intent to manufacture a controlled substance but only prepared to do so, you haven’t committed a crime. In order to be considered to have violated HS 11379.6, you must have committed an overt act in furtherance of manufacturing drugs. A skilled defense lawyer will use this and argue that your actions amounted to simple preparation, and not attempted manufacturing of controlled substances. Mere preparation doesn’t warrant a conviction. However, even if the court establishes that you attempted to manufacture drugs, you will still be subjected to half the sentence you would have otherwise faced for actually manufacturing narcotics pursuant to California law regarding attempted crimes.
- You Were Found in the Wrong Place, at the Wrong Time
A clandestine drug lab is a place where known drug users go to use and/or purchase drugs. Thus, you may not have had anything to do with manufacturing drugs, but you were there at the time when law enforcement officers searched the premises. You may be legally responsible for use and/or possession which are far less charges compared to manufacturing. Most clandestine drug labs are often in mobile homes, locked garages, and sheds and it may happen that you that someone living on the property is not even aware that drugs are being manufactured there.
If you were detained for manufacturing drugs, but were not involved in the alleged crime and were simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time, we can help you. We know the most effective strategies to convince prosecuting attorneys, jurors, and judges that you were not involved in the manufacturing process and are definitely not the one to be prosecuted.
- Illegal Search and Seizure
Even if you’re actively manufacturing illicit substances in Violation of HS 11379.9, if the law enforcement officers arrest you in violation of California’s search and seizure laws, your charges should be dismissed. This implies that if the officers enter the premises where you’re supposedly manufacturing drugs without probable cause, without a valid California search warrant, or search an area that is beyond that which is described in the warrant, any evidence that is believed to have been obtained unlawfully must be excepted from your case. This may see your charges abridged if not completely dismissed.
- Mistaken Identity
If you’re a victim of mistaken identity were falsely accused of manufacturing controlled substances, Long Beach Criminal Lawyer will conduct a detailed investigation to demonstrate your innocence and have your name cleared. We know that there are numerous reasons that cause innocent individuals to be falsely accused of and detained for drug crimes, like:
- Mistaken eyewitness identification,
- A false accusation based on anger, revenge, or desire to escape one’s criminal liability, and/or
- The fact that the information provided to the courts was furnished by an unreliable private informant or law enforcement officer.
Our skilled criminal defense attorney will explore all these possible legal defense strategies as a way of exonerating you.
Contact Us for Assistance
Drug manufacturing is a serious charge and convictions may result in huge fines, several years in prison, or both fines and incarceration. Not forgetting collateral consequences such as termination of government-provided benefits, trouble finding safe and decent housing, or loss of employment. The charges are complex and necessitate deep knowledge and experience to help you navigate the California criminal justice system. Getting legal assistance in the early stages of your case is crucial in obtaining the best result. At Long Beach Criminal Lawyer, we stand ready to review the facts of your case, weigh your options, and come up with a solid legal defense. Contact us any time 24/7/365 at 562-304-5121 for a free, no-obligation consultation.