In its simplest terms, California Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS prohibits illegally manufacturing drugs, narcotics or controlled substances. More specifically, it prohibits engaging in...or even offering to engage in...any activity that lends itself to the process of manufacturing illegal substances.1
This means that if you knowingly participate in any of the initial or intermediate steps that are involved in processing a drug, you could be liable for this offense.2
Some typical examples of manufacturing narcotics include
- operating a methamphetamine "meth" lab, or
- mixing "precursor" chemicals that are used to make other narcotics.
There are a number of legal defenses that apply to Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS California's law against manufacturing drugs / narcotics. Some of the most common include
- your acts were merely preparatory,
- the drug lab was discovered pursuant to an illegal search and seizure,
- you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and had nothing to do with the illegal activity that was taking place, and
- you were the victim of mistaken identity and/or false accusations.
Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS California's law against manufacturing controlled subsatnces is a felony, punishable by three, five or seven years in county jail and a maximum fine of $50,000.3
Offering to manufacture drugs is also a felony, subjecting you to a sentence of three, four or five years.4
If children reside in, are present in or are harmed in the location where you manufacture narcotics, you will face an additional and consecutive term of up to five years.
And you could face even longer prison sentences if you
- are convicted of manufacturing a large quantity a substance that contains PCP, methamphetamines, or GHB,
- are convicted of manufacturing meth or PCP and you cause another person to suffer great bodily injury or death,
- have certain drug-related prior convictions, or
- are involved in activity that triggers other related offenses.
In this article, our California criminal defense attorneys5 will explain California's laws against manufacturing narcotics by addressing the following:
If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
California Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS prohibits illegally manufacturing narcotics. Specifically, it prohibits
- or offering to engage in any of these acts with respect to...
any controlled substance specified in Health and Safety Code Sections 11054 - 11058 HS.6
A "controlled substance" is one whose manufacture, possession and use are regulated by the government under the United States "Controlled Substances Act". Some commonly manufactured controlled substances include (but are not limited to):
- ecstasy or "X," also regulated under California's drug laws,
- heroin, also regulated under California's drug laws,
- cocaine, also regulated under California's drug laws,
- marijuana, also regulated under California's drug laws,
- PCP, also regulated under California's drug laws,
- LSD, also regulated under California's drug laws, and
- methamphetamines (more commonly referred to as "meth") which are also regulated under California's drug laws and whose manufacture are discussed in a separate article on California laws re clandestine methamphetamine laboratories.
It is important to note that you can violate California's law against manufacturing narcotics even if you don't necessarily complete the manufacturing process. This California drug crime is complete as soon as you knowingly participate in the initial or intermediate steps that are involved in processing a drug.7
Example: An angry girlfriend brings the police to her boyfriend's house where the boyfriend is manufacturing drugs in the garage. The police find thousands of dollars in cash, a book entitled "Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture," the strong odor of chemicals in the garage and a variety of glassware, beakers, pumps, hoses and plastic tubing along with $21,000 to $56,000 worth of piperidine, a chemical which has legitimate uses but is also a precursor to the manufacture of PCP.
The defendant is arrested for and convicted of manufacturing narcotics. He argues that the conviction should be reversed because the evidence is insufficient to support the claim that he manufactured PCP. Rather, he contends that the evidence only supported the fact that he was engaged in the manufacture of piperidine, which has legitimate uses.
The court disagreed and upheld the conviction, stating that the fact that the defendant was engaged in the manufacture of piperidine is but one link in the chain establishing that the defendant was engaged in the manufacture of PCP. It went on to note that "Chemicals used to manufacture both piperidine and PCP were found in the garage. Specifically, the evidence established that after piperidine, which is not readily obtainable on the streets, is produced, sodium hydroxide, which was found in the garage laboratory, is added in the final mixing to form PCP. Based on these facts, the jury was entitled to infer that appellant was manufacturing piperidine with the goal of producing PCP as the end product."8
To sum up, this means that Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS prohibits engaging in the synthesis, processing or preparation of a chemical used in the manufacturing of drugs even if the chemical is not itself a controlled substance when you know that the chemical is a logical precursor to manufacture a controlled substance.9
That said, merely preparing to manufacture drugs is not in itself enough to convict you of manufacturing drugs, which brings us to the next section...
Fortunately, there are a variety of California legal defenses that are applicable to a manufacturing narcotics charge that a skilled California drug crimes defense attorney can present on your behalf. Below are some of the most common.
Even if you had every intention of manufacturing a drug...but only prepare to do so...you have not committed a crime. Until and unless you commit an overt act in furtherance of manufacturing narcotics, you don't violate Health and Safety Code 11379.6.
Example: Defendant is caught driving with a variety of items that are used to manufacture "hashish," a resin derived from marijuana. In fact, the only item missing was the marijuana itself. The defendant admits he purchased the items in order to "make hash" but decided not to purchase the marijuana after acquiring the equipment because he knew it was "a poor decision". The jury convicts him of attempting to manufacture a controlled substance.
The appellate court reverses the conviction, stating that despite the fact that the defendant's intent was clear, possessing the equipment was still merely preparatory. At the time the police discovered the equipment, the defendant had no ability to manufacture "hash" since (1) he had not yet assembled the equipment, and (2) he did not have on hand a necessary ingredient, the marijuana.
As the court explains, "In reviewing the record in this case, we find no act...not even a slight act...on the part of appellant that goes beyond preparation and can be regarded as an unequivocal overt act which can be said to be a commencement of the commission of the intended crime."10
And the fact is that it may be difficult to decipher whether you (a) merely prepared to manufacture drugs or whether you (b) attempted to manufacture drugs and were simply prevented from doing so by an intervening source.
But as Rancho Cucamonga criminal defense attorney Michael Scafiddi11 explains, "A good defense lawyer will make the case that your actions amounted to mere preparation, not attempted manufacturing of drugs. Mere preparation does not warrant a conviction. But even if the court finds that you attempted to manufacture drugs, you would still only face half of the sentence you would otherwise face for actually manufacturing drugs under
California's laws regarding attempted crimes."12
Regardless of whether you are actively manufacturing narcotics in violation of Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS, if the police arrest you in violation of California's search and seizure laws your charges should be dismissed.
This means that if the police enter the property where you are allegedly manufacturing drugs
- without a valid California search warrant,
- without probable cause, or
- search an area that is beyond that which is identified in the warrant,
California law provides that any evidence that is illegally obtained must be excluded from your case. The practical effect is that your charges will be significantly reduced if not entirely dismissed.
A clandestine drug lab is also commonly a place where known drug users may go to buy and/or use drugs. Consequently there are often people who may not have anything to do with manufacturing drugs, who happen to be present at the time when the police search the premises. These individuals may be liable for use and/or possession (discussed in more detail in Section 4. Related Offenses). But even so, these are far less serious charges than manufacturing.
And because clandestine drug labs are often in locked garages, mobile homes, sheds, etc., it may be the case that someone living on the property isn't even aware that drug manufacturing is taking place on the premises.
If you are arrested for manufacturing narcotics...but were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and were not involved in the alleged crime...we can help. As former prosecutors and police investigators, we know the most effective strategies to convince prosecutors, judges and jurors that you are not the person who should be prosecuted.
On a similar note, if you are falsely accused of manufacturing drugs or are the victim of mistaken identity, our firm will conduct a thorough investigation to prove your innocence and clear your name.
We know that there are an infinite number of reasons that cause innocent people falsely to be accused of and arrested for California drug crimes, such as
- a false accusation based on revenge or anger or a desire to escape one's own criminal culpability,
- mistaken eyewitness identification, and/or
- the fact that the information supplied to the court to obtain a warrant was provided by an unreliable police or private informant.
A good criminal defense lawyer will explore all these factors as means of exonerating his or her client.
Generally speaking, Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS California's law against manufacturing narcotics is a felony, punishable by three, five or seven years in the California state prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.13 However, at sentencing a judge could decide to impose probation (and up to a year of county jail) in lieu of state prison time.
If you are convicted of offering to manufacture drugs, you face a felony, punishable either (a) by probation and up to one year of jail time, or (b) by three, four or five years in jail.14
In addition, there are a number of statutory aggravating factors that could trigger even lengthier sentences. These include (1) manufacturing large quantities of certain drugs, (2) causing death or injury, (3) manufacturing narcotics in the presence of children, and (4) having certain prior drug-related convictions.
If you are convicted of manufacturing (or of conspiring to manufacture) a substance that contains
- methamphetamines, and/or
you face the following additional and consecutive terms if that substance exceeds the volumes below:
- three years where the substance exceeds three gallons of liquid by volume or one pound of solid by weight,
- five years if the substance exceeds ten gallons liquid/three pounds of solid,
- ten years if the substance exceeds 25 gallons liquid/ten pounds of solid, and
- fifteen years if the substance exceeds 105 gallons liquid/44 pounds of solid.15
If you are convicted of manufacturing meth or PCP...or of attempting to manufacture either of those drugs...and the offense causes the death or great bodily injury of another person other than an accomplice, you face an additional and consecutive one year sentence in the California state prison for each death or injury.16
If you are convicted of manufacturing methamphetamines...and a child under 16 resided in the structure where the violation took place...the court will likely order you to serve one of the longer sentences. You are also likely to receive a longer sentence if you are convicted of manufacturing methamphetamines within two hundred (200) feet of an occupied residence or any other structure where someone was present at the time.17
If you are convicted of manufacturing or of attempting to manufacture methamphetamines or PCP -- and a child under 16 years was present during the violation -- you face two years in the state prison in addition and consecutive to the term you received for the underlying violation.18
And if a child under 16 suffered a great bodily injury as defined under California law, you face a five-year prison term in addition and consecutive to the term you received for the underlying violation.19
If you are convicted of manufacturing narcotics or of conspiring to manufacture drugs...and have a prior conviction for a variety of drug-related offenses, such as
- Health and Safety Code 11351 HS California's law against possessing a controlled substance for sale,
- Health and Safety Code 11352 HS California's law against transporting or selling a controlled substance, and
- Health and Safety Code section 11378 HS, California's law against possessing methamphetamines for sale, or Health and Safety Code 11379, HS California's law against selling methamphetamines ...
you face a consecutive and additional three-year sentence for each prior felony conviction, even if the prior conviction did not result in a prison term.20
"Drug diversion" is an alternative sentencing option that allows a nonviolent drug offender to receive drug treatment in lieu of a jail or prison sentence. California's drug diversion programs include
The advantage of drug diversion is that if you successfully complete the program, you can avoid custody time and your drug charges will likely be dismissed. However, drug diversion is not offered to everyone and, in fact, has a number of limitations.
The biggest hurdle is that the offense has to be connected to simple possession of a drug for personal use. If your attorney can convince the prosecutor
- that you were only manufacturing narcotics for your own personal use...as opposed to for sale...or
- to allow you to plea bargain for a lesser offense of simple possession,
you may be able to participate in one of the drug diversion programs listed above.
There are a number of crimes that are closely related to manufacturing drugs / narcotics, either because they are charged in connection with or in lieu of this offense. Some of the most common include (but are not limited to):
Health and Safety Code 11350 HS California's law against possession of a controlled substance makes it a felony to possess a variety of controlled substances such as
- Vicodin, also regulated under California law, and
- codeine, which is also regulated under California law,
when they are not lawfully prescribed. 23 This law is virtually identical to Health and Safety Code 11377 California's law against possession of methamphetamines except that HS 11350 applies to a wider range of narcotics.24 Both laws are referred to as "simple" possession laws because they address possession for personal use rather than possession for sales.
HS 11350 is a felony, punishable by up to three years in county jail, whereas HS 11377 is what is known as a California wobbler offense. A "wobbler" is a crime that the prosecution may choose to file as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on
- the facts of your case, and
- your criminal history.
If convicted of the California misdemeanor offense, you face up to one year in a county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. If convicted of the felony, you face:
- probation and up to one year in county jail, or
- 16 months, or two, or three years in jail
- a fine of up to $10,000.
That said, most people convicted of simple possession are allowed to participate in drug diversion.
Possessing a small amount of any of these drugs at the time you are alleged to be manufacturing others would most likely cause prosecutors to charge you with manufacturing and simple possession.
However, if you are caught possessing a larger quantity of a drug, you will more likely be charged with possession for sales, described below.
Health and Safety Code 11351 HS California's law against possessing a controlled substance for sale also applies to the types of drugs listed above. However, this offense is considered much more serious, as it involves possessing narcotics that you intend to sell to other people.
If you possess more than a small amount of drugs at the time you are discovered manufacturing drugs, prosecutors will probably charge you with both manufacturing narcotics and possession for sales. Possession for sales is a felony, subjecting you to:
- probation and up to one year in county jail, or
- two, three, or four years in jail.25
If convicted of this offense, you will not be permitted to participate in drug diversion.
Health and Safety Code 11352 HS California's law against transporting or selling controlled substances prohibits selling, furnishing, administering, giving away or transporting illegal narcotics. Generally speaking, these types of arrests arise out of undercover sting operations in which a decoy officer engages in a "controlled buy." Sometimes these stings run afoul of California entrapment laws and should be dismissed for that reason.
With respect to a manufacturing charge, if you are engaging in any of these prohibited activities while you are also manufacturing drugs, prosecutors will likely charge you with both crimes. HS 11352 is a felony, subjecting you up to:
- probation and up to one year in county jail, or
- three, four or five years in jail, or
- three, six or nine years in jail if you move the drugs across more than two county lines.26
Health and Safety Code 11550 HS California's "being under the influence of a controlled substance law" prohibits just that - being under the influence of a controlled substance "in any detectable manner." If...at the time the police discover that you are manufacturing narcotics you are also under their influence...prosecutors will likely charge you with both offenses.
A conviction for this misdemeanor drug offense subjects you to up to one year in jail. However, most people who are charged with this offense qualify for drug diversion.
That said, if you are charged with HS 11550 in connection with a manufacturing charge, you will not qualify for drug diversion unless your criminal defense attorney can convince the prosecutor to dismiss the manufacturing charge as part of a plea bargain.27
Health & Safety Code 11364 HS California's law against possessing drug paraphernalia makes it a misdemeanor to possess "an opium pipe or any device, contrivance, instrument, or paraphernalia used for unlawfully injecting or smoking a controlled substance." This includes hypodermic needles, pipes, bongs and cocaine spoons.28
The key here is that the type of paraphernalia prohibited by this law is that which is used for consuming drugs. The equipment used to manufacture narcotics is usually different. However, if the police arrest you for manufacturing and also find you with paraphernalia used to ingest or otherwise consume drugs, you could face prosecution for both offenses.
A conviction for 11364 HS carries up to six months in the county jail. But this offense, too, usually qualifies for a diversion program when charged by itself.
Health and Safety Code 11366.5 HS punishes an individual who has under his/her management or control any building, room, space, etc. and knowingly
- allows another person to manufacture, store, sell or otherwise distribute any controlled substance in that space, and/or
- allows the space to be equipped in such as manner so as to prevent the police from entering in order to further the sale of certain prohibited drugs and who receives profits that substantially exceed fair market value for doing so.
A violation of the first subsection is a wobbler.
If charged as a felony, it carries a sentence of:
- up to one year in county jail.
As a felony, it can be punished by:
- 16 months, or two or three years in county jail.
A violation of the second subsection is always a felony, punishable by a jail sentence of two, three or four years.29
And on a related note, if you are subject to prosecution for this law or are otherwise involved in manufacturing narcotics, for example, by
- cooking the drugs,
- mixing the drugs,
- buying the equipment,
Health & Safety Code 11370.9 HS money laundering involving drug proceeds is a special form of the California crime of money laundering.
HS 11370 makes it a crime to engage in a financial transaction involving money that you know was derived from a drug crime like sale or transportation of a controlled substance, with the goal of hiding the sources of those funds. This law only covers transactions totaling more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) in a 30-day period.31
Laundering of drug proceeds is a wobbler. The felony penalties include two (2) to four (4) years in state prison and/or a fine of up to two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) or twice the amount laundered (whichever is greater).32
Cultivation of peyote under Health & Safety Code 11363 HS is the crime of planting, cultivating, harvesting or processing the plant peyote, which has hallucinogenic effects.33
Cultivating peyote is a crime even though the drug is commonly used in Native American religious rituals.
HS 11363 is a wobbler. The felony penalties include sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years in state prison.34
You do not actually have to manufacture controlled substances to be guilty of a crime in California. Under Health & Safety Code 11383 and 11383.5 HS, mere possession of materials for the manufacture of controlled substances is a crime.35
This law applies to certain specified chemicals and combinations of chemicals that can be used to manufacture PCP or methamphetamine. Possession of materials for manufacturing these drugs is a felony and carries a potential jail sentence of two (2), four (4) or six (6) years.36
Call us for help...
If you or loved one is charged with Health & Safety Code Section 11379.6 HS drug manufacturing and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.
Additionally, our Las Vegas Nevada criminal defense attorneys are available to answer any questions about Nevada's drug crimes. For more information, we invite you to contact our local attorneys at one of our Nevada law offices, located in Reno and Las Vegas.35
1 California Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS - Manufacturing narcotics. ("(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, 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 specified in Section 11054, 11055, 11056, 11057, or 11058 shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for three, five, or seven years and by a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). (b) Except when an enhancement pursuant to Section 11379.7 is pled and proved, the fact that a person under 16 years of age resided in a structure in which a violation of this section involving methamphetamine occurred shall be considered a factor in aggravation by the sentencing court. (c) Except when an enhancement pursuant to Section 11379.7 is pled and proved, the fact that a violation of this section involving methamphetamine occurred within 200 feet of an occupied residence or any structure where another person was present at the time the offense was committed may be considered a factor in aggravation by the sentencing court. . . . (e) Except as otherwise provided by law, every person who offers to perform an act which is punishable under subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for three, four, or five years. (f) All fines collected pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be transferred to the State Treasury for deposit in the Clandestine Drug Lab Clean-up Account, as established by Section 5 of Chapter 1295 of the Statutes of 1987. The transmission to the State Treasury shall be carried out in the same manner as fines collected for the state by the county.")
2 California Jury Instructions, Criminal "CALJIC" 12.09.1
3 See Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS California's law against manufacturing narcotics, endnote 1.
4 See same.
5 Our California criminal defense attorneys have local Los Angeles law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier. We have additional law offices conveniently located throughout the state in Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.
6 California Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS, endnote 1.
7 See CALJIC 12.09.1 - Manufacturing narcotics, endnote 2.
8 People v. Stone (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 707.
9 See CALJIC 12.09.1 - Manufacturing narcotics, endnote 2.
11 Rancho Cucamonga marijuana defense attorney Michael Scafiddi uses his former experience as an Ontario Police Officer to represent clients accused of manufacturing narcotics and other drug-related offenses throughout the Inland Empire including San Bernardino, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Hemet, Banning, Fontana, Joshua Tree, Barstow, Palm Springs and Victorville.
12 Penal Code 664 PC - Attempts, punishment.
13 See Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS California's law against manufacturing narcotics, endnote 1, above.
14 See same.
15 Health and Safety Code 11379.8 HS
See also People v. Hard (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 272.
16 Health and Safety Code 11379.9 HS
17 See Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS California's law against manufacturing narcotics, endnote 1, above.
18 California Health and Safety Code 11379.7 HS
19 See same.
20 California Health and Safety Code 11370.2 HS
22California Penal Code 1000 PC -- Application of chapter to certain violations.
23 California Health and Safety Code 11350 HS
Possessing a controlled substance in conjunction with manufacturing narcotics could lead to prosecution for both charges.
24 Health and Safety Code 11377 HS - Possession of methamphetamines.
25 California Health and Safety Code 11351 HS
Possessing drugs with the intent to sell in conjunction with manufacturing narcotics could lead to prosecution for both charges.
26 California Health and Safety Code 11352 HS
Selling drugs in conjunction with manufacturing narcotics could lead to prosecution for both charges.
27 California Health and Safety Code 11550 HS
28 California Health and Safety Code 11364 HS
29 California Health and Safety Code 11366.5 HS
Allowing someone to manufacture narcotics in your place of business could therefore trigger conspiracy and aiding and abetting charges.
30Penal Code 182 PC California's conspiracy law.
See also People v. Sanchez (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 918.
31 Health & Safety Code 11370.9 HS -- California's law on money laundering related to drug transactions.
33 Health & Safety Code 11363 HS - Cultivation of peyote [related offense to manufacture of controlled substances].
35 Health & Safety Code 11383 HS; Health & Safety Code 11383.5 HS [possession of materials for the manufacture of controlled substances].
37 Please feel free to contact our Las Vegas Nevada criminal defense attorneys Michael Becker and Neil Shouse for any questions relating to Nevada's drug crimes. Our Nevada law offices are located in Reno and Las Vegas.