Being accused of a drug crime is a serious issue under the California Law. The possession, use, or distribution of manufacturing drugs has stringent laws that can attract harsh penalties. This type of drug crime is categorized under the Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS and makes it an offense to produce drugs, narcotics, or other controlled components. Under California law, an individual convicted of manufacturing drugs can face penalties of between three to seven years in jail and get maximum fines of $50,000.

These penalties occur if the manufacturing drug allegation is simple and is not associated with federal charges. The penalties also apply if the charges are not linked to supplementary charges such as violence and gang-related operations. If you or your loved one is charged with a manufacturing drug charge, you will need a qualified and experienced attorney with vast knowledge in the California legal system to help you develop a smart legal defense for your case. At Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Law Firm in California, our team will assess the characteristics of your case and develop a defense strategy that will help reduce the possible penalties.

The Definition of Manufacturing

Under the California Health and Safety Code 11379.6, it is a felony to prepare, produce, process, or manufacture a restricted substance through chemical procedures. A significant example of a manufacturing drug crime is the operation of a meth lab. Primarily, the California criminal law regards manufacturing as the engagement by an individual in any phase involved in processing an illegal drug. Note that individuals that distribute the chemicals used as raw materials and other apparatus can also be charged with a manufacturing drug offense.

In most cases, manufacturing drug crimes are treated as felony offenses. The punishment includes jail time, significant fines, as well as harsh probation sentences. However, the court rules according to the characteristics of each case. For example, people convicted of manufacturing drugs near educational centers and public areas with minors receive augmented prison sentences and fines.

Penalties Associated With Manufacturing Drugs

The California law classifies the manufacturing of drugs or controlled substances as a felony crime and bears the following penalties:

  • Between three and seven years in a county prison
  • Fines of up to $50,000

The offer to manufacture drugs is classified as a felony and carries between three and five years in prison. If there are minors present, living, or hurt in the location of manufacturing drugs, the court might add more than five years to the conventional sentence. You may attract additional jail term if any of the following is true:

  • You were previously convicted of drug-associated crimes
  • You have previous convictions of processing a large amount of substances with meth, PCP, or GHB
  • You have a prior conviction of manufacturing meth, PCP as well as caused bodily harm or death upon another person.
  • You practice activities that depict the commission of other associated crimes.

Prior Drug-related Convictions

If you are arrested for a manufacturing drug offense, you will likely get more stringent than you would have if you were previously convicted for drug-related charges. Regardless of whether the previous convictions were direct engagement or conspiracy, they can increase your jail term by three more years.

Serious Injuries or Death

You will experience harsher punishment if you caused bodily harm or death on another individual during your engagement in the processing or manufacturing process. For every person injured, you are likely to get an additional year, and each is served consecutively. Note that you will not receive any additional years if the injured individual was an accomplice in your operations.

Manufacturing or Processing Large Quantities

You will face extended prison time if you are convicted of processing, producing, or manufacturing enormous quantities of a particular controlled substance such as meth, PCP, and GHB. Having large quantities of any of these drugs can cause additional jail terms. Some of the typical enhancements include:

  • When the illegal or controlled substance surpasses three gallons or one pound for solid products, you will receive an extra five years
  • If the controlled substance is more than 25 gallons or 10 pounds of solid, you will receive an additional ten years of consecutive jail term.
  • When the substance surpasses 105 gallons or 44 pounds of solid, you will receive additional prison time of 15 years.

Associated Offenses

In some cases, you can be charged with other crimes that are closely associated with manufacturing drugs. In many cases, they are charged in connection with manufacturing drugs. Some of these include:

Health and Safety Code 11350

This statute makes it illegal to possess a controlled substance. You can be charged with a felony if found to be in possession of some of the following controlled substances:

  • Cocaine
  • Ketamine
  • Heroin
  • GHB
  • Vicodin
  • Codeine

This statute is identical to HS 11377, a law that prohibits the possession of methamphetamines, though HS 11350 is implemented for a wide variety of narcotics. These laws are referred to as simple possession laws, for they deal with the production of personal use rather than for sale.

Health and Safety Code 11351

This California law makes it illegal to possess a controlled substance for sale. This crime is considered more severe than just a simple possession for personal use. Note that if you are found with a large amount of a controlled substance at the time you are arrested for manufacturing drugs crime, you can be charged with both possession and manufacturing drugs for sales, which is a felony.

Health and Safety Code 11352

This California law stipulates that it is illegal to sell, distribute, or transport controlled substances. In many cases, these arrests occur when an undercover agent engages in a decoy 'controlled buy.' If you are practicing one or multiple of these activities and get arrested for manufacturing drugs crime, the prosecutor will likely charge you with both or multiple offenses.

Health and Safety Code 11550

HS 11550 makes it illegal to be under the influence of a manufacturing drug or any controlled substance. The notion means being under the influence of the substance in any discoverable manner. If you were intoxicated at the time police arrested you for manufacturing drugs crime, the chances are that you will be charged with both crimes.

Health and Safety Code 11364

The statute affirms that it is illegal in California to own an opium pipe, apparatus, or paraphernalia used to inject or smoke a narcotic substance illegally. Note that this incorporates cocaine spoons, needles, and bongs. If the law enforcement authorities arrest you for manufacturing drugs and find paraphernalia in the premises to ingest the substances, you are likely to face prosecution for both crimes.

Health and Safety Code 11370.9

This California law makes it illegal to receive money or engage in any transactions that entail money sourced from drug proceeds. If you are arrested with manufacturing drugs and investigations depict money laundering transactions, prosecutors will likely charge you with both crimes.

Drug Diversion

This type of punishment is provided as alternative sentencing that offers people convicted of engaging in non-violent manufacturing of drugs with drug treatment rather than a jail sentence.

Proposition 36

This initiative was passed in California and allowed qualified non-violent drug offenders to serve time in a treatment program rather than a jail or prison. Note that the laws that guide the use of this proposition are complex. Through an experienced defense attorney, you can get your case dismissed if you successfully finish an approved drug treatment program.

A drug treatment program approved by the court entails the following:

  • Narcotic replacement therapy
  • Education about drugs
  • Outpatient services

Drug diversion programs in California also incorporate statutes such as the Penal Code 1000 PC as well as California drug court. The advantage with this penalty is that once you complete the treatment program, you can avoid custody time, and charges against you are likely to be dropped. Note that drug diversion is not provided to every defendant. One of the primary limitations is that manufacturing drug crime must be associated with 'personal use' only or mere possession. Therefore, your criminal attorney needs to convince the prosecutor that you were manufacturing the drugs for personal use and not for sale. The attorney can also 'plea bargain' for simple possession of drugs, which is a less offense.

Allowing Other Parties to Manufacture Drugs in Your Premises

California Health and Safety Code 11366.5 penalize a person who intentionally allows his premises, room, and space:

  • To be used by another individual to process, keep, sell, or distribute any manufacturing drug or controlled substance
  • To be structured in a way that makes it difficult for police to enter hence furthering the sale of a controlled substance. A person can also be convicted if he or she receives profits that surpass the fair market value.

Defenses Against Manufacturing Drugs

If you are charged with manufacturing drugs crime, your defense lawyer assesses the case details and uses some of the following defenses:

  1. Lack of Understanding in Drug Manufacturing Activities

Drug laboratories are mostly hideouts where drug laws and other laws regarding purchasing and possession of drugs are violated. When law enforcement officers conduct their search at such places, there might be innocent individuals at the premises with no knowledge of manufacturing drugs. Such cases are considered less severe than the manufacturing of drugs. If you are in such a situation, your defense attorney will pursue the decrease or eradication of the charges. This occurs if your association with the drug lab was not deliberate.

  1. False Allegations

In some cases, you can be falsely accused of being responsible for drug manufacturing. The following are some of the situations in which your defense attorney will apply false accusation as a defense:

  • An act of vengeance from another party
  • You are a mistaken identity
  • Unreliable information, mainly when an officer provides inaccurate information to acquire a warrant.
  1. Unlawful Search and Capture

Your attorney might use this as a defense if the law enforcement officers contravened California's search and seizure statutes during the arrest process. Note that this notion holds regardless of your activity associated with the manufacture of illegal drugs. The reason is that the court does not regard evidence that was obtained illegally as admissible. Some possible illegal search situations by authorities entail entering your premises without a search warrant or searching a section outside the scope stipulated in the permit.

Particular circumstances might convince the prosecutor to reduce the manufacturing drugs charge to a lesser offense, such as the mere possession of drugs. One of the ordinary situations is when you have no prior record of drug-related convictions, and the amount of drugs was minimal. This might also hold if there was no actual manufacturing of drugs. There are also other unique circumstances that your attorney can use to convince the court to reduce the felony to an infraction or misdemeanor.

A person might also be arrested for processing other chemicals such as methamphetamines as well as Phencyclidine. These are considered controlled substances, and it is illegal to manufacture them without the state government's consent. A defendant arrested with these chemicals and had the intention of producing drugs will undergo a felony conviction. Having a defense attorney is essential in such cases to demonstrate that you had no purpose in processing drugs.

What Does the Prosecutor Need to Prove in a Manufacturing Drugs Case?

In such cases, a prosecutor needs to demonstrate that the arrested person manufactured, produced, or converted directly or indirectly a controlled substance through chemical synthesis. Some of these substances include ecstasy, LSD, meth, PCP, and Heroin, among others. In many cases, the prosecutors attempt to demonstrate that you are manufacturing a controlled substance based on the chemicals and apparatus that law enforcement finds at the premises during the arrest.

For example, with methamphetamine, the prosecutor can prove the case by showing a hefty amount of pseudoephedrine. The prosecutor can also confirm that you had the intent to manufacture PCP because of sodium hydroxide, Bunsen burners, filters, tubing, and glass containers.

Note that even though the possession of such equipment can be strong evidence of intent to manufacture a drug, the prosecutor needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were not used for a legitimate purpose. Therefore, the prosecution needs to seek other indicators as evidence that you intended to manufacture these controlled compounds. A prosecutor is not mandated to demonstrate that you took part in the entire manufacturing process. If he or she shows that you were engaged either in the first, intermediate, or final stages of the process, there is adequate evidence for a conviction.

The California law notes that manufacturing drugs is a felony, and the associated punishment could attract jail time as well as fines that are considered for state or federal violations. The difference between federal and state regulations is the strictness of the punishment after the conviction. Federal charges attract penalties that are considered to be more severe than the state regulations. Three primary elements must be present before you can be found guilty of a manufacturing drug crime. These include:

  • You engaged in the production, processing or manufacture of a controlled compound.
  • You made an offer or suggestion to manufacture, process or distribute a controlled substance.
  • You did not have the necessary licenses to do so.

Marijuana Laws in California

You might be confused by the laws revolving around marijuana, considering that in 2016, voters approved the adult use of the Marijuana Act. The latter made it legal for adults over 21 years of age to cultivate, possess, and distribute marijuana in small quantities for medical and recreational purposes. However, these activities must be performed within the frameworks of the law. There must be the necessary licenses to engage in marijuana production and possession. In California, it is unlawful to sell marijuana to a minor and to possess if you are below the age of 21 years.

Furthermore, the California law makes it illegal to cultivate more than six plants and to own over 28.5 grams even if you are an adult. The law also makes it unlawful to sell, grow, and distribute marijuana without the necessary licenses. The underage possession of marijuana or owning quantities that surpass 28.5g attracts a jail term of up to six months in county prison. Cultivating and selling marijuana without a proper permit attracts a penalty of 6 months or a fine of between $500 and $1,000. Note that there is immunity to these charges, especially if you are a patient or a primary giver with the required licenses.

Consequences of a Manufacturing Drugs Criminal Record

From the ongoing, manufacturing drugs is criminal and whose direct consequences could either be jail time, fines or both. Here is a look at other areas a drug manufacturing conviction will impact:

  1. Custody Issues

When you have a prior manufacturing drug conviction, a judge might consider you unfavorably in custody cases. This might convince him or her to deny you custody of your children.

  1. Employment Opportunities

Having a manufacturing drug criminal record might negatively affect your success in getting a job. Many employers conduct background checks before they can consider you for a particular position. It is also a challenge to acquire security permission to secure a government job.

  1. College Fund

Having a manufacturing drug conviction in your criminal record can also deny you the opportunity of securing financial aid to provide for your college or university education. If you are a student at the time of conviction, a manufacturing drug criminal record can stop you from graduating.

  1. Getting an Apartment

Many landlords conduct background checks before they allow you to rent their apartments. A prior manufacturing drug conviction might limit your chances of getting a rental apartment as many landlords will conduct such background checks.

  1. Immigration Problems

People in California with a visa or green card might jeopardize their immigration status if they are convicted of drug manufacturing offenses.

Components of Possession with the Aim to Manufacture Drugs

A prosecutor needs to show the following elements to prove a case of possession the intent to manufacture:


The prosecutor must prove to the court that you performed the act deliberately. 'Intentional' means that you intentionally engage in manufacturing drugs with the knowledge that they are illegal in California.


Possession means having or owning a controlled substance that you know is illegal. The California law notes that the state is not obligated to recognize the actual nature of the controlled substance so long as you know of it. Note that possessing a controlled substance and affirming you did not know about it is hardly believable by either the law enforcement authorities or the prosecutor. However, you require an experienced attorney who can develop an effective defense strategy for your case.


The prosecutor needs to demonstrate that you were aware of the illegality of your actions. For example, if you have multiple containers of drugs that are illegal, and you know that to be accurate, then the prosecutor can prove that you knowingly possessed them. Having an experienced attorney will assist you in showing the court that you were not aware that the substances you had were controlled or illegal substances.

Find a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

If you or your loved one has been arrested for a manufacturing drug offense in California, you need a skilled and experienced attorney who will assist you in your case. Manufacturing drugs crime can be stressful, primarily because of the associated penalties. At Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Law Firm, we are committed to providing the appropriate legal advice regarding your case and even represent you in court. Depending on the facts of your case, we will develop a suitable defense strategy that will convince the court or the prosecutor to reduce the charges and penalties. We can also negotiate or 'plea bargain' with the prosecutor to file lesser charges before your case goes to the court. Give us a call today at 714-740-7848.

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