Manufacturing a controlled substance in California

Have you been charged for manufacturing of a controlled substance in California? We can help you and check the different paths to your defense. Our attorneys have successfully represented clients facing these charges for over 50 years.

Controlled substances in the United States are classified according to their medical use, potential for abuse, and level of safety. Its manufacture, possession, distribution, sale, transportation and trafficking is regulated by state and federal laws.

What is the crime of manufacturing a controlled substance in California?

Drug manufacturing is an offense under California Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS

According to this statute, the following are considered guilty:

“every person who manufactures, compounds, converts, produces, derives, processes, or prepares, either directly or indirectly by chemical extraction or independently by means of chemical synthesis, any controlled substance …”

Drugs and other controlled substances that are regulated under this statute include:

  • Cocaine.
  • Heroin.
  • Amphetamine.
  • Methamphetamine.
  • Opium.
  • Ecstasy.
  • Marijuana.
  • Hallucinogens (LSD, DMT, mushrooms) among others. 

The crime of manufacturing a controlled substance is established by the operation of an underground laboratory. For example, making amphetamines or methamphetamines, which are fairly common drugs in California. 

drug manufacturing

Illegal manufacturing of a controlled substance in California includes the sale of certain special equipment and chemical precursors used in processing. We are talking about acetone, potassium permanganate and pseudoephedrine, among others. 

These chemicals are used to make cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Those who illegally sell, use, or assist manufacturing can be charged with the crime of manufacturing controlled substances.

Elements of a drug manufacturing charge

To prosecute a person for the crime of manufacturing controlled substances in California, the prosecutor must demonstrate that:

  • The defendant manufactured, composed, prepared, and produced a controlled substance.
  • The defendant knew that he/she was manufacturing a controlled substance substance.

The guilt of the accused for manufacturing drugs is established if the prosecutor manages to prove that:

  • He/she participated in the manufacturing process knowing that it was a controlled substance, and;
  • Such participation took place during the first steps of the process or in the intermediate stage of the operation. 

Sanctions for manufacturing controlled substances in California

General penalties for manufacturing illegal drugs in California can lead to:

  • Confinement in a state prison for up to 7 years.
  • Fine of up to $ 50,000. 
  • Mandatory attendance at drug counseling and rehabilitation programs.
  • Record as a criminal for drug trafficking.
  • Adverse consequences of immigration.

As the volume of the manufactured drug increases, so does the time in prison. Likewise, those who manufacture near schools or playgrounds may face additional penalties. 

Furthermore, the punishment is greater if manufacturing is associated with other crimes such as:

The sanctions also increase when there are other related crimes or the following aggravating factors:

illegal pills in the USA

1. Previous convictions for other drug offenses

If you have been convicted of other drug related crimes, the sentence will be longer still. For each previous conviction, 3 years could be added to the current sentence. Regardless of whether you have served a sentence inside or outside a prison.

Such prior convictions could be:

  • Possession of a controlled substance for sale.
  • Possession of methamphetamine for sale.
  • Sale of methamphetamines.
  • Sale or transportation of a controlled substance.
  • Manufacture of drugs.

2. Manufacture of controlled substances in large quantities

The prison terms will also be extended if the accusation is for manufacturing drugs in large quantities. This includes illegal drugs and controlled substances like methamphetamines, PCP, and GHB.

The improvements in sentence increase according to the following volumes of methamphetamines and other drugs:

  • For more than 3 gallons of liquid or one pound of weight of the prohibited substance. The penalty increases 3 years.
  • For more than 10 gallons of liquid or 3 pounds of drugs. Additional penalty of 5 years.
  • For more than 25 gallons of liquid or 10 pounds of solid substance. Additional penalty of 10 years.
  • For more than 105 gallons of drugs or 44 pounds of solid substance. 15 years of additional punishment.

3. Causing serious injury or death to another person

When someone is injured or killed during the manufacturing of the controlled substance, there are additional penalties. For each person injured / killed, one year is added to the sentence. 

However, if the injured or deceased person was an accessory to the crime, no additions will be added to the sentence.  

4. Manufacture of drugs in the presence of minors

Another extension to the sentence can be added by the judge if there are children in the place of manufacture of the drugs. For the presence of minors in the same place of the fact, you will receive 2 additional years.

On the other hand, if a minor is seriously injured during manufacturing, you will receive another 5 years in prison. It is quite common that explosions and fires occur in these laboratories or that the minor ends up intoxicated.

Can I be deported for manufacturing controlled substances?

Any drug related crime can have detrimental immigration consequences. Under California law, drug manufacturing could be classified as a crime of moral turpitude.   

The crimes of moral turpitude are serious and lead to:

  • A deportation process.
  • Be declared inadmissible.

The problem with this crime is that it does not have benefits or allow certain types of immigration reliefs such as:

immigration lawyers specializing in deportation

At Lluis Law our immigration lawyers who are deportation experts can help in these cases. Experience and knowledge of drug and immigration law give us an advantage in obtaining better results.  

Possible drug manufacturing defenses

The manufacture of controlled substances is a serious crime in the United States in general. With the exception of medicinal cannabis that is used in therapeutic treatments in California. 

To face an accusation for this crime, you will need an aggressive defense capable of questioning the evidence and the procedure. Some of the defenses that can be tried in these cases are:

  • The arrest came after an illegal drug search and seizure process. The police obtained the evidence without having a court order. 
  • The accused was only in the preparatory acts of the substance manufacturing process.
  • The defendant was arrested under flawed procedure or under deception. The entrapment was fabricated by the police under harassment, pressure, threats or fraud. 
  • Bad identification. The police / prosecutor has an obligation to correctly identify the accused of the crime. If it does not, the case must be dismissed.

While it may be considered a defense to say that you were actually manufacturing legal substances, if you are a precursor to a controlled substance, you can still be prosecuted for manufacturing it. 

You do not have to complete the process to be charged and prosecuted for the crime of drug manufacturing. It is enough that there is evidence that the controlled substance was being produced. 

defense on drug charges

Our Los Angeles drug crime lawyers must demonstrate that there were flaws in the proceeding that ended with the arrest. In that case, the judge can dismiss the charges for the irregularities committed. Other times, such mitigating elements could influence a reduced sentence.

 Is it possible to clean the criminal record from drug charges?

Sometimes it is possible to clear the criminal record of a person accused of a drug crime in California. Especially if the court issues a verdict in which the person is sentenced to probation without serving time in prison.

The annulment of the sentence is provided for in California Penal Code (PC 1203.4). For those eligible for this benefit, the court removes the sentence and the case is dismissed in accordance with the statute.  

The person, then, is judicially rehabilitated without having his resume stained.

In addition, the criminal statute rewards in some way those who demonstrate good moral conduct during their reform process. Consequently, they are released from “sanctions and responsibilities” after a conviction.

Drug trafficking in the United States

Some of the most trafficked drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, are usually manufactured outside of the United States. In recent years, the trafficking of drugs such as cocaine to the U.S. has increased significantly. 

  • Between 2013 and 2017, the cultivation of cocaine leaves doubled in South America. Cocaine is grown and processed in Colombia and Bolivia and shipped to the U.S. through Venezuela. 
  • The number of hectares cultivated in 2017 increased to 245,000, at the same time as its manufacture. Cocaine production worldwide that year was approximately 1976 tons. 

Other drugs are made in the USA and introduced to California. For example, hashish that can be produced in a home garage. Also methamphetamines.


If you require the services of a competent lawyer we can help you. The benefits of hiring a skilled lawyer for the charge of manufacturing a controlled substance in California are significant. You can avoid jail or get a sentence reduction. 

For decades, Lluis Law has defended successfully clients accused of manufacturing a controlled substance. A drug case is too serious to be left to inexperienced hands.