11379.6. (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.
This code section prohibits manufacturing, processing, or producing an illegal drug. Due to the seriousness of this offense, it is charged as a felony.
Potential Sentence: Upon being found guilty, you can be sentenced to three, five, or seven years in prison. You can also be fined an amount up to fifty thousand dollars.
To be found guilty of a H&S 11379.6 charge, the following must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the defendant took part in manufacturing, converting, compounding, processing, preparing or deriving, or producing an illegal substance via chemical synthesis or extraction.
- That the defendant was aware of the nature of the substance as an illegal drug.
Explanation of the Law:
- Element One: The chemical extraction process can be done indirectly or directly.
- It is not required that the prosecution prove the defendant was actually able to complete the manufacture or production of the controlled substance. It is just required that they prove the defendant was involved in starting (or working midway through the process) to produce a final illegal product. People v. Jackson (1990) 218 Cal.App.3d 1493. Additionally, there must be proof that the defendantknowingly contributed to the process.
- The defendant can also be found guilty for merely creating a “precursor” element to be used in later stages to make a final version of a controlled substance. Thus, the defendant will be guilty even if he combines elements which are legal if he knows they will aid in creating an illegal substance later. People v. Pierson (2000) 86 Cal.App.4th 983.
- Element Two: The prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant knew what substance he was using, only that he knew it was illegal. People v. Coria (1999) 21 Cal.4th 868.
Related Crimes: Under California Health & Safety Code 11366.5, it is illegal to allow someone to manufacture controlled substances on your property, or a place over which you have control. A person doing so can be charged as an aider and abettor pursuant to California Health and Safety Code 11379.5. Liability as a “principal” can also be charged under Health and Safety Code 11366.5 People v. Sanchez (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 918, 923 [33 Cal.Rptr.2d 155]; People v. Glenos (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1201, 1208 [10 Cal.Rptr.2d 363].
California Health and Safety Code 11379.5. requires that the defendant have the specific intent to aid in the creation of illegal substances. California Health and Safety Code 11366.5 only requires that the defendant knew the drugs would be distributed or sold. People v. Sanchez (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 918, 923 [33 Cal.Rptr.2d 155]; People v. Glenos (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1201, 1208 [10 Cal.Rptr.2d 363].)
- Illegal Search and Seizure: If police seized evidence for this offense in violation of the 4th Amendment, the use of such evidence can be challenged as an illegal search and seizure.
- No participation in manufacturing: As assisting in the manufacture is a central element of the crime, if someone was not actually involved in drug production activities, it could be a defense to the crime. A scenario could arise where someone present at the site of manufacturing did not actually have anything to do with the illegal process.
- Failure to initiate the drug preparation process: In regard to the first element of this crime, a person who had made preparations to manufacture drugs but did not actually begin the process may not be guilty of the 11366.5 offense. However, there is a very fine line between preparation and beginning. Once a person initiates even the first step of manufacturing, criminal liability attaches.
- Mistaken I.D.: The prosecution is required to establish the proper identification of the person accused of the crime. If they are unable to do so for whatever reason, the defendant cannot be found guilty.