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Manufacturing Drugs or Narcotics

In California, it is unlawful to manufacture drugs or narcotics. While this should come as no surprise, determining whether an act involves “manufacturing” a drug can often be subjective. Its potential subjective nature is a result of California's adoption of a broad definition for what qualifies as manufacturing a drug.

Because of the serious nature of this charge, being placed under arrest for manufacturing drugs can feel hopeless. The good news is that despite its broad wording, there are many potential defenses to this charge. With the right legal counsel, you could ultimately prevail at trial and avoid any of the consequences that come with a conviction.

Attorney Vitaly Sigal has extensive experience defending those accused of drug manufacturing in Los Angeles. His aggressive approach has led to dropped charges and favorable trial outcomes throughout his career. To discuss your defense options, reach out to the Sigal Law Group right away.

Definition of Manufacturing of Drugs and Narcotics

A charge of manufacturing drugs and narcotics is governed by California Health and Safety Code Section 11379.6. Under the statute, it is a crime to manufacture any drug or narcotic. The statute provides a thorough but open-ended list of activities that are considered manufacturing a drug, including the act of:

  • Compounding
  • Converting
  • Producing
  • Deriving
  • Processing, or
  • Preparing.

Performing or offering to perform any of these acts as they relate to chemically synthesizing a controlled substance is a felony under California law. The statute also makes clear that it is a violation to manufacture these drugs directly or indirectly. In other words, if you enlist another person to manufacture a drug you could be on the hook for those penalties as well.

Elements of a Drug Manufacturing Conviction

Establishing a case of drug manufacturing generally requires a prosecutor to prove the conduct described in the statute actually occurred. To do so, the prosecutor relies on the below elements of the crime:

  1. The defendant directly or indirectly manufactured a controlled substance;
  2. The defendant knew the substance involved was a controlled substance; and
  3. The defendant intended to manufacture a controlled substance.

In other words, the prosecutor has two other burdens outside of meeting the statutory definition. First, the prosecutor must show that the defendant was aware of the nature of the controlled substance. Second, manufacturing is a crime of intent, so it is not enough to show that manufacturing occurred. To obtain a conviction, a prosecutor must establish crafting a controlled substance was the defendant's desired result.

Common Examples

With so many elements, there are many different situations that could affect a charge of manufacturing drugs or narcotics. Consider the following examples:

Example: Meeting the Elements

After embarking on a life of crime, Jon decides to manufacture a controlled substance with the intent to sell it. He purchases all of the basic ingredients and begins the process of combining them into the recipe for the drug. Jon has begun to produce a controlled substance intentionally, with full knowledge of the substance's nature. He is guilty of manufacturing a drug or narcotic.

Example: Offering to Manufacture

Jon has been considering ways to make money when he overhears a friend talking about manufacturing drugs for profit. Jon offers to help, going so far as to discuss the needed ingredients and potential delivery date of the final product. Although Jon has yet to manufacture anything, offering to manufacture a drug while intending to do so violates Health and Safety Code 11379.6.

Example: Lack of Intent

Jon has no plans of manufacturing a controlled substance. Unbeknownst to him, two different cleaning agents in his garage are ingredients in a controlled substance recipe. Jon combines the two solutions to save shelf space. Even if this combination is a step towards manufacturing a drug or narcotic, Jon lacked the intent necessary to commit a crime.

Available Defenses

For a skilled Los Angeles drug manufacturing defense attorney, there are many potential defenses to a violation of Health and Safety Code 11379.6. While some defenses are common in any criminal trial, others are unique to charges related to drug possession and manufacturing. Some common defenses are discussed below.

Lack of Intent

Manufacturing a controlled substance is a crime of intent. If you did not intend to manufacture a drug, you have not violated the statute. It should be noted, however, that it could be challenging to convince a jury that you lacked intent if you were in possession of everything you need to manufacture a drug. A jury can make inferences from your conduct regarding your intentions, even if you do not admit to it.

Lack of Knowledge

You could have a potentially viable defense if you were unaware that the substance you were manufacturing was a controlled substance. If you intentionally manufacture a substance – typically at the request of another person but are not aware of the substance's illegal nature, this defense may apply.

Unlawful Search or Seizure

One of the strongest defenses available relies on your rights under the 4th Amendment. It is illegal for law enforcement to seize your vehicle or search your home without either your consent or a valid legal exception. Typically, an exception would require a warrant.

The 4th Amendment protects your person, your home, and your car. If law enforcement pulls you over while driving or searches your property illegally, your attorney could file a motion to exclude any evidence they recovered at trial. This theory, known as “fruit of the poisonous tree,” bars prosecutors from using illegally obtained evidence against you at trial. In some cases, a prosecutor will be forced to dismiss the charges against you if your attorney successfully excludes the evidence from a search.

Call a Los Angeles Manufacturing of Drugs & Narcotics Attorney

The stress and worry that comes with facing a charge of manufacturing a drug or narcotics are understandable. These charges carry serious penalties that can have permanent consequences. However, there is no guarantee that an arrest will result in a conviction. To fight back against your charges, contact the Sigal Law Group right away. At your initial consultation, you can learn about your legal options and ask any questions you have related to your case.