Manufacturing a controlled substance is a federal offense, as are possession and distribution with the intent to manufacture the controlled substance. Even if you only played a small role, you could still be charged a federal drug crime and tried in a federal court. As with any charge, however, the government still has to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction.
Drug Manufacturing Laws
Federal laws dictate different “schedules” of controlled substances (for example, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and marijuana) and the associated penalties for possessing, manufacturing, and/or distributing these substances. You could be charged with drug manufacturing if the government believes you participated in any stage of the process of creating the illegal drug or controlled substance. An example might include cooking meth. If you just obtained the ingredients to manufacture meth, even if you didn’t actually do the cooking, you could be charged with illegal drug manufacturing.
Federal drug convictions carry serious consequences. The exact penalties vary widely depending on the drug and the amount involved. Other factors may include your role, any previous criminal convictions, and your cooperation. Examples of penalties include:
* Cultivating less than 50 marijuana plants: 5 years in prison
* More than 100 marijuana plants: 5 to 40 years
* More than 1,000 marijuana plants: 10 years to life.
* More than 5 grams of meth or 50 grams of another substance that contains meth: 5 to 40 years.
* More than 50 grams of meth or 500 grams of another substance that contains meth: 10 years to life.
Other Drug Manufacturing Categories
* Schedule I or II: Up to 20 years in prison.
* Schedule III: Up to 10 years
* Schedule IV: Up to 5 years
* Schedule V: Up to 1 year
Schedule I drugs are those classified as having the most potential for harm or abuse, with no known medical use. Examples include marijuana (and synthetics), heroin, LSD, ecstasy, peyote, and psilocybin mushrooms. Schedule II is treated as seriously, with the exception that there are accepted medical uses. Examples include methamphetamines, morphine, codeine, and morphine. From there, the severity decreases as the drugs are considered to have less potential for harm such as death and addiction.
Drug Manufacturing Defense
First, it’s important to hire an attorney as soon as possible. You need a lawyer with experience defending against drug manufacturing charges in federal court. The prosecution will have that experience, and so should you.
The federal government pursues drug manufacturing charges aggressively, and they have many different statutes available for prosecuting these offenses. While it might seem overwhelming, the government still has the burden of proof and you are presumed innocent, as with any charge. In order to convict you, the prosecution has to prove all of these elements in your case:
* That you manufactured or possessed and intended to manufacture a controlled substance.
* That you manufactured or possessed and intended to manufacture a counterfeit drug substance.
* That you did so intentionally or knowingly.
When defending against these criminal charges, there are often different options to consider when building the strategy. Are you falsely accused? Were you the victim of entrapment? Did you have any knowledge of the manufacturing crime? Were you participating under duress? Regardless of the situation, our attorneys can help make sure you get the defense possible. The prosecution’s case isn’t always as strong as they claim, and our experienced attorneys can help identify their weaknesses to benefit you.
We understand that federal drug laws are complicated and confusing, especially when there are conflicting state laws. For example, the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I (most serious), while many states have legalized or decriminalized the possession and cultivation of marijuana plants. Even in the most extreme cases, hiring the right attorney can help identify any weaknesses in the case against you. An example might be if DEA or FBI agents seized your property without probable cause or a valid search warrant. Whatever the circumstances, we can help provide a compelling defense in federal court that can help get the case dismissed, obtain an acquittal, or result in a lighter sentence with a plea deal.
A federal drug charge can have devastating consequences to you and your loved ones, and we can help protect your rights and help your outcome. We will review your case, talk to the police and authorities, negotiate with the prosecutors, and advise your of your options.
United States Department of Justice