Drug manufacturing charges are serious business: being found guilty of these charges can have a devastating impact on your life. If you are a Maryland resident who is facing a charge of manufacturing an illegal drug, it's important to receive competent legal representation from a criminal defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of drug charges in the state. James Peters, drug crimes attorney, is here to help.
MD Criminal Code § 5-603: The Elements of Drug Manufacturing
Maryland Criminal Code §5-603 prohibits the use of manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance. The statute, however, goes one step further than manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance. It also makes it illegal to possess equipment used to produce controlled substances or illegal drugs with the intent to produce and sell the same.
Intent is a key factor in this section of the statute. In order to be charged with manufacturing of a controlled substance, a prosecutor must be able to prove that you intended on producing, selling, or dispensing the drug.
MD Criminal Code § 5-604: Manufacture of a Counterfeit Substance
The manufacture of a counterfeit substance is also prohibited by the Maryland Criminal Code § 5-604, which makes it a crime to create or distribute a counterfeit substance or possess a counterfeit substance with intent to distribute it. As an example, creating fake Percocet pills would be considered manufacturing a counterfeit drug.
The law also forbids the manufacture of equipment that is designed to imprint or reproduce a trademark or number onto a drug to make the drug look authentic. Possessing or creating a machine that makes counterfeit OxyContin pills, for example, would be considered manufacturing of a counterfeit substance. Similarly, printing a fake prescription bottle label for such a drug could result in a drug manufacturing charge.
Possible Penalties of a Drug Manufacturing Charge
Conviction of a drug manufacturing charge carries some hefty penalties, as manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance is a felony charge.
Penalties for Manufacturing of a Schedule I and Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance
Conviction of a drug manufacturing charge carries some hefty penalties, as manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance is a felony charge. When it comes to Schedule I or Schedule II controlled dangerous substances, the stakes are even higher in a drug manufacturing charge, as the penalties you may face increase based on the type of drug produced and the number of offenses you have on your record.
- First offense: imprisonment for up to 20 years and/or a fine of up to $15,000
- Second offense: imprisonment for up to 20 years and/or a fine of up to $15,000
- Third offense: imprisonment for up to 25 years and a fine of up to $25,000
- Fourth offense: imprisonment for up to 40 years and a fine of up to $25,000
It is important to note that, in the eyes of the court, conspiracy to manufacture a controlled dangerous substance is the same as actually manufacturing the drug. Therefore, you may be charged with manufacturing of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled dangerous substance even if you have not actually succeeded in manufacturing the drug itself.
In addition to prison sentences and fines, you may be ordered to enter into a drug treatment program as part of your punishment for manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance.
Manufacture of Heroin or Fentanyl
The state of Maryland takes the manufacture of heroin and fentanyl very seriously and imposes a separate sentence for those who are convicted of such a crime. If you are convicted of manufacture of either of these drugs, you will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years. This sentence, however, will run consecutively to any other sentence you receive for a drug charge rather than concurrently. This means instead of serving both sentences at the same time, your sentence for this charge will be tacked onto the end of your other drug sentence.
As part of your punishment for a conviction of drug manufacturing, a court may order you to pay restitution to pay the costs the state incurred in cleaning up the lab used to manufacture the controlled dangerous substance.
Modification of Prison Sentence
In 2017, the Maryland Criminal Code was substantially revised. As such, mandatory minimum prison sentences are no longer required for drug manufacturing convictions. As part of this revision, §5-609.1 allows a person who is currently serving a prison sentence that includes a mandatory minimum sentence to apply to modify or reduce the mandatory minimum sentence he or she faces.
The court may then modify the mandatory minimum sentence imposed unless:
- keeping the mandatory minimum sentence in place would not result in substantial injustice to the prisoner; or
- the mandatory minimum sentence is necessary for the protection of the public.
Potential Defenses to a Drug Manufacturing Charge
If you face a manufacturing charge, it's important to enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney who can fight your charges and protect your interests. Oftentimes, an attorney can assert defenses to your case that could lead to your punishment being reduced, or -- in some cases -- your charges being dropped altogether. There are many defenses a skilled attorney can use to develop your defense strategy, but violations of Fourth Amendment rights is one of the more common and important defenses.
Fourth Amendment Violations
One of the most common defense to a charge of drug manufacturing is that the equipment or drugs seized were found by practices of a police officer in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment guarantees people the right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures. If your property was searched without probable cause that you were committing a crime or without a search warrant, for example, you may be able to assert a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.
Charged with Drug Manufacturing? We Can Help
If you have been charged with drug manufacturing in the State of Maryland, don't wait until it's too late to get the help you need to fight your charge. James Peters is dedicated to helping clients who face charges just like yours obtain the legal representation that they deserve. To schedule a consultation to speak with criminal defense attorney James Peters about your charge and formulate a plan of action, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (301) 795-8272 today.