Manufacturing Drugs

Whether you manufacture drugs for your consumption or sale, you can be charged and convicted of manufacturing drugs.

Direct or indirect manufacture of a controlled substance is a criminal offense in California. It can lead to a state prison sentence and substantial fines if you are convicted.

The offense is a form of an aggravated felony, which could also lead to your deportation if you are an immigrant.

Whether or not you are an immigrant, the consequences of a conviction are too severe to ignore. Therefore, you must fight the charges with the help of a drug crimes defense attorney.

We at the Darwish Law will help create suitable defenses against the charges of manufacturing drugs in California. Contact us today for a case evaluation if you are in Santa Ana. 

Overview and Legal Definition of the Crime of Manufacturing Drugs

The manufacture of illegal drugs creates unique challenges to the government’s efforts to reduce illegal possession, sale, and consumption of controlled substances. It also poses additional risks to safety, such as the release of toxic chemicals and the risk of fires or explosions.

California authorizes the production of some controlled substances (for medical use) as long as their production is in a controlled environment. Such manufacturers must meet the set legal requirements.

The California Health and Safety Code 11379.6 prohibits the manufacture, conversion, acquisition, processing, and preparation of controlled substances by chemical extraction or synthesis. Manufacturing of drugs could include processes such as “cooking” meth in your garage or cultivating marijuana illegally. It also involves all the processes from the preparation of the components to the production of the final product.

The common controlled substances whose manufacture is illegal in California are methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and LSD.

You can be charged with a felony offense if you are found to be manufacturing, aiding, or participating in the manufacture of that controlled substance.

The prosecution must prove certain elements to convict you for manufacturing drugs. Some of these elements include:

  • You participated in any part of preparing or producing a controlled substance, directly or indirectly.
  • You knew that the substance was a controlled substance.
  • You manufactured the controlled substance through chemical extraction or synthesis.

Chemical extraction refers to the use of chemicals or compounds to remove other chemicals or compounds from a material. For example, using chemicals such as butane to extract THC from marijuana is chemical extraction.

Chemical synthesis refers to combining one or more chemicals or compounds to create a complex substance. Chemical synthesis is used in the manufacture of controlled substances such as methamphetamines, ecstasy, and LSD.

You could be convicted for the offense even if you participated in the beginning stages and for a short period. Knowingly participating in the process of manufacturing drugs qualifies as an offense of manufacturing drugs.

The charges will also apply if you knew the substance was a controlled substance, even if you did not know the exact substance.

Suppliers who make available the materials to produce these drugs can also be charged under the law if they have reasonable cause to know that the person will use the supplied materials to produce a controlled substance.

The cultivation of plants such as marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms for use in the manufacture of controlled substances is also illegal.  

Cultivating marijuana is legal only when it is for medical purposes and personal use up to a certain limit set by the state. For instance, if you cultivate marijuana to derive its concentrates, you may face charges of manufacturing a controlled substance.

Possible Legal Defenses

Criminal cases place the responsibility of proving that the defendant committed the alleged crime on the prosecution. The standard of proof must meet the principle of 'beyond a reasonable doubt.' The prosecution has to convince the whole jury that you committed the crime. Such a standard is hard to achieve and requires convincing evidence to secure a conviction.

It is also your constitutional right to fight the criminal charges, either through an attorney or by representing yourself. The best path, of course, is with the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney.

Working with an attorney gives you the advantage of having an experienced person handling legal matters. He or she can examine the relevant laws and is familiar with the procedures followed in a criminal court.

Your attorney will be responsible for coming up with possible defenses that you can apply. The defense chosen depends on the circumstances surrounding the offense, including mitigating and aggravating factors.

Since law enforcement officers discover most drug crimes through sting operations, you could use entrapment as a defense. Entrapment occurs when an officer, through enticement, harassment, threats, fraud, or coercion, makes them commit a crime.

Entrapment differs from an officer providing the opportunity for you to commit a crime. For example:

Sheryl, an undercover officer, meets Jason. Sheryl comments that she has run out of heroin, and Jason offers to make some for her in his house. If Jason proceeds to make some heroin for her, and she arrests her, then he can face charges for manufacturing drugs. 

However, Sheryl would be guilty of entrapping Jason if she forces him into making heroin by threatening to harm his family.

If your attorney can prove that the officer entrapped you, you cannot be convicted of the offense.

Your attorney could also use the defense of coercion to fight these charges. When using coercion as a defense, the attorney must prove that you had no authority or choice on whether to manufacture the controlled substance. Such a case will occur if the perpetrator has restrained you unlawfully.

Your attorney could also assert that the evidence against you was obtained through an illegal search and seizure. The constitution requires that police officers have a search warrant before they can search or seize your property.

Even if the police have a warrant, they must search within the boundaries of that warrant. Anything they take outside the scope of their warrant will be inadmissible in court.

While there are a few exceptions to the rule, your attorney will investigate your case to determine whether they apply. If they do not, then the prosecution cannot use the evidence obtained from that search.

Your attorney could also challenge the grounds of the warrant to determine whether the officer had probable cause to search your property. If the officers did not have probable cause to request the warrant, then it had no legal basis to start with (and the evidence from the search is inadmissible in court).

You could not be guilty of manufacturing drugs if you did not initiate the process of manufacturing a controlled substance. The crime requires direct or indirect involvement, not merely the intention to manufacture the drug. However, you could still be charged with crimes of possession.

Another defense is asserting that you were an innocent bystander. While the law captures anyone involved in the initial, intermediate, and final stages of manufacturing an illegal substance, it does not involve anyone who was not participating in any way.

Since most of the drug-related offenses involve sting operations, the officers will arrest everyone on the scene and probably file charges. However, if you were not involved in any of the manufacturing stages, you have not violated the law.

Your attorney is more likely to succeed with this defense if he or she proves you were neither involved nor aware of the illegal manufacture of drugs going on in the premises.

Other defenses could involve:

  • Challenging the credibility of informants, especially if the charges arose due to a sting operation
  • Challenging the accuracy of the identification of parties involved in the alleged crime
  • You did not know that the substance was a controlled substance (the statute prohibits you from knowingly participating in any of the steps in the manufacture of drugs. For example, if you were producing the drug without knowing what the final product would be, you cannot be guilty of the offense.)

Charges of manufacturing drugs are often complicated. The circumstances also vary based on the case, making them complex even for the most experienced defense attorney. Therefore, the best defense you can use is to hire an attorney as soon as you are charged with the crime; that way, your attorney will have adequate time to plan a defense strategy.

Penalties for Manufacturing Drugs

Manufacturing drugs is a felony in California with a sentence of three, five, or seven years in state prison. The court could also impose a fine of up to $50,000. The court might also sentence you to felony probation for up to five years.

If you receive a probation sentence, the court will attach additional conditions, such as refraining, from committing new crimes and avoiding areas where controlled substances are manufactured.

The exact penalties you get for the offense depend on your criminal history, the circumstances of the offense (for example, whether another crime was happening simultaneously), and aggravating circumstances.

Some of the aggravating factors that can result in stiffer penalties include:

  • A minor under 16 years resided in a structure where the defendant manufactured the illegal drugs.
  • You manufactured methamphetamines within 200 feet of an occupied residence or structure.
  • You used a volatile solvent in the extraction of concentrated cannabis within 300 feet of an occupied residence or structure.
  • You manufactured a large quantity of the controlled substance.

The court might also apply sentence enhancements, which exceed the maximum prison term. When your case has aggravating factors, the court will increase the penalties within the maximum sentence allowed by the law.

However, in the case of sentence enhancements, you can serve more than the seven years allowed for a conviction of manufacturing drugs. Some of these sentence enhancements apply under the circumstances such as:

  • A minor under the age of 16 was physically present during the manufacture of illegal drugs such as PCP or methamphetamine. In such a case, the court must impose an additional and consecutive sentence of two years.
  • If a minor under the age of 16 suffers great bodily injury due to the manufacture of methamphetamine or PCP, the court must impose an additional and consecutive sentence of five years in prison.
  • Any person who was not involved in the manufacture of either methamphetamine or PCP dies or suffers great bodily injury; the court will impose an additional and consecutive term of one year for every victim. the enhancement will apply if the defendant has not received an enhancement for causing great bodily injury to a minor below 16 years)

The court might also impose sentence enhancements based on the quantity of drugs manufactured. These enhancements apply for the manufacture of controlled substances such as PCP, methamphetamine, and GHB. They include:

  • If the drug exceeds one pound (solid) or three gallons (liquid), the court might impose an additional three-year prison sentence that you must serve consecutive to the original term.
  • If the drugs exceed three pounds (in solid form) or ten gallons, the court might enhance your sentence by imposing an additional and consecutive term of five years.
  • If the drugs exceed ten pounds or twenty-five gallons, you might receive an additional and consecutive state prison sentence of ten years
  • If the drugs exceed 44 pounds or 105 gallons, you will receive an additional and consecutive term of 15 years.

Your criminal history also plays a role in the severity of the penalties you receive. If you have a prior conviction for manufacturing, selling, or transporting a controlled substance, the court will impose an additional three-year consecutive sentence, depending on the drug involved. 

Since manufacturing drugs is a felony offense, you will lose your gun rights, meaning that you cannot legally purchase, own, or possess firearms.

Immigration Consequences

Manufacturing drugs is a crime of moral turpitude in California. Therefore, it could lead to negative immigration consequences. Some of these consequences include:

  • Mandatory removal
  • Optional removal
  • Inadmissibility

These consequences will apply if you are convicted for manufacturing controlled substances such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

California classifies the manufacturing of a controlled substance as an aggravated felony, which will lead to mandatory removal. The stakes are high; therefore, if you are an immigrant to the US. You must, therefore, ensure that your attorney is aware of your citizenship status when defending you.

Unfortunately, if you are convicted of manufacturing drugs, you cannot access forms of relief that will help you continue living in the US. Some of these types of relief include:

  • Cancellation of removal
  • Hardship waiver
  • Asylum relief

Most immigration consequences are hard to escape, especially after a conviction. You can fight these consequences through your defense. Some ways in which you can avoid deportation or inadmissibility include:

  • Getting your charges dropped
  • Getting some of the evidence excluded
  • Filing for a dismissal of the charges (PC 995)
  • Acquittal at a jury or bench trial
  • Obtaining a writ of habeas corpus
  • Filing a successful appeal of your conviction
  • Getting a governor’s pardon
  • Fighting the removal in the US immigration court
  • Appealing a removal order (the Board of Immigration Appeals)

An expungement cannot help in avoiding the immigration consequences since the offense does not qualify for expungement.

Related Offenses

The manufacture of drugs related to other offenses, which can be charged alongside or instead of manufacturing drugs. Your attorney might negotiate a plea deal (depending on the circumstances) to reduce your charges to a lesser crime. These offenses include:

  1. Possession of a controlled substance for sale

Possessing a controlled substance for sale is a crime under the health and Safety code 11351. The statute prohibits possessing a controlled substance for sale. Controlled substances covered in the statute include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and marijuana.

  1. Sale of a controlled substance

The California Health and Safety Code 11352 prohibits the transportation and sale of controlled substances, including cocaine, peyote, and heroin.

  1. Operating a drug house

HS 11366 criminalizes the operation or maintenance of a house, room, or building for selling or provision of illegal controlled substances.

  1. Renting a space for the distribution of a controlled substance

Renting or leasing a place for the manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance is a crime under HS 11366.5.

  1. Possessing materials for manufacturing drugs is a crime under HS 11383. It makes it a crime to possess certain chemicals so that you could use them to manufacture an illegal controlled substance. You could be charged with the offense as a plea bargain if the court finds that you had not begun the preparation or manufacture of a controlled substance.

Find a Santa Ana Drug Crimes Attorney Near Me

California has intensified her fight on drugs, which increases the number of convictions for drug-related offenses. Charges for manufacturing drugs can be expensive, and with severe criminal and immigration consequences.

Fighting the charges against you should be a top priority if you are charged with manufacturing drugs. Contact an experienced attorney for legal defense services. An attorney will provide an assessment of your case to identify the aggravating and mitigating factors present and how these can come together in your defense. Get in touch with Darwish Law at 714-887-4810 to talk to an experienced Santa Ana defense attorney.