Defending Against Drug Manufacturing Charges in Alabama

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Manufacturing & Cultivation Crimes in Alabama

The State of Alabama and the U.S. government make it illegal to manufacture any controlled substance. That means growing plants that can be used as drugs, or in the making of drugs, as well as the actual manufacture or processing of a drug. These crimes are punished harshly, with sentences of five to 40 years for the lowest level of federal drug manufacturing charges, and two to 20 years for the lowest charge under Alabama state law.

In addition, a manufacturing charge is often stacked on top of other drug charges, which means defendants can spend decades in prison. If you’re facing drug manufacturing charges in Alabama, you need smart legal representation — fast. Before you say a single word to law enforcement, you should call a Birmingham criminal defense lawyer for help.

Alabama Criminal Lawyers represents clients throughout the state who are charged with serious state and federal drug manufacturing offenses, including:

  • Unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance in the second degree
  • Unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance in the first degree
  • Manufacturing, distribution or possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance
  • Manufacturing a counterfeit drug
  • State or federal possession of precursor chemicals or anhydrous ammonia
  • Federal or state charges for unauthorized manufacture of a controlled substance by an otherwise authorized person.

Alabama Drug Manufacturing Laws

Manufacturing is the crime of creating an illegal drug or controlled substance by means of a chemical process. Drug manufacturing is prosecuted harshly in the state of Alabama, and people arrested for drug manufacturing often face additional drug charges, such as intent to sell, trafficking, distribution, racketeering, conspiracy, and more.

Under Alabama state law, you can be charged with second-degree drug manufacturing if you manufacture any controlled substance in Alabama’s Schedules I through V, or if you possess precursor chemicals with the intent to unlawfully manufacture a controlled substance. That is, law enforcement doesn’t need to show that you actually made the substance — just that you possessed certain chemicals and intended to make the substance.

For the purposes of the statute, manufacturing includes growing marijuana and other plants that can be used as drugs or as ingredients of drugs. Second-degree manufacture is a Class B felony, carrying two to 20 years of prison time.

Unlawful manufacture in the first degree is a more serious charge. It’s charged against people who can be charged with second-degree manufacture and also have two or more of the following circumstances:

  • Possessed a firearm or used a booby trap
  • Owned, transported or disposed of hazardous materials, or created a substantial risk to human health or safety or the environment while transporting materials
  • A minor under age 17 was present during the manufacturing
  • A clandestine laboratory was operated within 500 feet of a school, residence, church or business
  • A clandestine laboratory actually produced a controlled substance in any amount
  • A clandestine laboratory manufactured substances in Schedule I or Schedule II

Many of these are aimed at meth labs, but they apply to any substance controlled by the State of Alabama. Schedules I and II contain many opiates and hallucinogens.

Penalties and Jail Time for Drug Manufacturing in Alabama

In Alabama, the penalties for manufacturing will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Whether you are being charged in state or federal court
  • The amount of drugs being manufactured
  • The type of drugs being manufactured
  • If only supplies were found, as opposed to actual drugs or narcotics
  • If you intended to sell or distribute the drugs
  • If minors were somehow involved

With these factors in mind, the penalties for drug manufacturing can include 20 years to life in prison, up to $30,000 in fines, asset forfeiture, probation or parole, community service, and more.

Drug Cultivation in Alabama

If you have been charged with cultivating marijuana, or if you are being investigated for cultivation, it is imperative that you consult an experienced Alabama cultivation defense attorney right away. It is illegal under both state and federal law to cultivate any amount of marijuana, even for personal use only.

Furthermore, unlike some states, Alabama does not recognize marijuana for medicinal purposes, which means you will be arrested on criminal charges even if you were cultivating marijuana to treat an illness or manage chronic pain.

Cultivation is the crime of planting, growing, or harvesting marijuana or any part of the cannabis plant. Under the Alabama law, the penalties for cultivation are as followed:

  • 2.2 lbs of marijuana or less (FELONY): no less than 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine
  • 2.2 to 100 lbs (FELONY): no less than 5 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
  • 100 to 500 lbs (FELONY): no less than 15 years in prison and a $200,000 fine
  • More than 1000lbs (FELONY): life in prison

Federal Drug Manufacturing Charges

We defend clients in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Alabama, as well as the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. State and federal charges can be filed for any drug offense, but federal charges are most likely if you crossed state or national borders as part of the manufacture, or if law enforcement believes there’s a serious or large-scale drug operation.

Federal drug manufacture laws say it is illegal to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, distribute or dispense a federally controlled substance.

The law is graduated, so that lesser amounts and drugs considered less dangerous to draw less prison time than larger amounts or more serious drugs. However, even the lowest category for marijuana draws up to five years in prison, and the lowest category of cocaine, heroin or speed draws five to 40 years.

Penalties increase substantially if there’s a death or serious injury involved if it’s a repeat offense. And these are mandatory minimum sentences, meaning those convicted aren’t eligible for probation-only sentences, early parole or suspended sentences — regardless of the circumstances.

How to Defend Against Drug Manufacturing Charges

If you face charges of drug manufacture or cultivation in Alabama, you’re facing long prison sentences, high fines, and other harsh punishments. You also face life with a felony conviction on your record, which takes away your right to own a firearm or vote and can cause trouble getting or keeping jobs.

Even if you believe your case is open and shut, you should never plead guilty without the advice of a competent criminal defense attorney.

Because our society can be hysterical about drugs, law enforcement officers sometimes make mistakes, cur corners or violate defendants’ civil rights. We will comb through your case meticulously to find these flaws and violations because challenging them often leads to dropped or substantially reduced charges.

When evidence is incomplete or based on bad assumptions, we are prepared to challenge it aggressively, questioning the prosecution’s assertions about your knowledge or intent. If a plea bargain is your best option, he will argue vigorously for drug court and lesser sentences that are more appropriate for your crime.

If it makes sense to go to trial, we are prepared to advocate vigorously for you before a jury, using whatever experts and other specialists are appropriate to demand a “not guilty” verdict.

Contact Our Birmingham Drug Manufacturing Lawyers Today

Just because you have been accused of drug manufacturing does not mean that it is true or that you are guilty. In addition, if there is a lack of evidence, or if the police violated your constitutional rights, including your right to unlawful searches and seizures, we will make this fact known to the judge. Any violation of your rights can help us get your charges reduced to a lesser offense or thrown out completely.

Whether it means getting your charges reduced or dropped, negotiating for a plea bargain, or aggressively challenging the prosecution’s accusations during a trial, you can trust Alabama Criminal Lawyers to help you resolve your case in the best possible outcome.

Contact us at (205) 981-2450 for a free consultation.