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Methamphetamine (meth) abuse is a major public health problem in the United States, and much of the illegal meth available for sale in other parts of the country is made in California meth labs. Meth production involves the use of highly volatile chemicals that put members of the public in the immediate vicinity at great risk. Moreover, meth labs create environmental hazards that are extremely expensive to clean up.
If you’ve been charged with a crime related to the manufacture of methamphetamine in Los Angeles, speak with a drug attorney as soon as possible. You may be facing both federal and state charges that carry serious penalties. An experienced lawyer can help you safeguard your legal rights and assist you in evaluating the options that are open to you.
The Federal Comprehensive Methamphetamine Act
The 1996 Comprehensive Methamphetamine Act targeted methamphetamine precursor chemicals such as pseudoephedrine, increased penalties for their possession and permitted the seizure and forfeiture of these chemicals. The bill also increased penalties for the possession of the types of equipment standardly used in meth production. Violations are charged as felonies, and convictions can carry prison sentences of up to 10 years as well as substantial fines.
California Health and Safety Code 11379.6 HS
This statute prohibits engaging in any of the specific processes used to manufacture methamphetamines, including compounding, deriving, producing and extracting. Additionally, the law prohibits any offer to participate in any stage of the methamphetamine manufacturing process even if that offered assistance does not subsequently take place.
The offense is charged as a felony, and penalties can include up to seven years in a state prison and a fine of up to $50,000. Enhanced penalties apply if large quantities of the drug are apprehended, if death or serious injury are associated with the manufacturing process, if a person younger than 16 years of age is on the premises or if the defendant has any type of prior drug-related conviction.
California Health & Safety Code 11366.5
This statue makes it illegal to knowingly allow another individual to manufacture, store, or sell methamphetamine or any other controlled substance in a physical space that is under your management or control. Additionally, this law prohibits the alteration of that physical space, if you are being paid to do so, in any way that makes it more difficult for police to enter that space.
Offenders who violate California Health & Safety Code 11366.5 may also be charged with criminal conspiracy under California Penal Code 182 PC and/or with aiding and abetting an illegal operation under California Penal Code 31 PC.
This offense can be charged either as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Misdemeanor conviction can carry a penalty of up to 364 days in a county jail while felony conviction can carry a penalty of up to three years in a county jail.
• California Health & Safety Code 11383 & 11383.5 HS
This statute specifically prohibits the possession of certain precursor chemicals that can be used in the manufacture of either phencyclidine (PCP) or methamphetamine. This crime is charged as a felony, and penalties can include up to six years in a county jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Enhanced penalties apply in certain situations. If you possess these chemicals in proximity to a child younger than 16 years of age, an additional and consecutive two-year sentence will be added to any jail time you’re required to serve. If possession of these chemicals severely injures a child younger than 16 years of age, an additional and consecutive 5-year sentence will be added to any jail time you’re required to serve.
If you’re been charged with operating a meth lab in Los Angeles, consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. He or she may be able to help you achieve the most advantageous resolution given the facts of your case.