Experienced Defense Lawyers for Drug Manufacturing Charges
If you’ve been charged with manufacturing drugs, it’s important to secure legal representation immediately. This charge can lead to severe penalties that can affect the rest of your life, including a long prison sentence, plus a criminal record that makes it difficult to get a job, rent property, or open a business. Not only do you need representation fast, you need a defense attorney who is experienced in defending drug offenses on your side to protect your rights, advocate on your behalf, and provide you with an effective defense strategy.
At Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh, we have over 60 years of combined legal experience, both as criminal defense attorneys and as Assistant District Attorneys for Wake County. By experiencing both sides of the aisle, we are able to better serve our clients with a unique insight into how prosecutors may try each case and how strong their cases are. More importantly, we are passionate about defending our clients and dedicated to acting as both an advocate and an ally during this challenging time.
Drug Manufacturing Laws in North Carolina
Drug manufacturing laws are under the NC General Statute 90-95 (a)(1) and go far beyond simply producing or processing controlled substances. It actually includes:
- “production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion, or processing of a controlled substance by any means, whether directly or indirectly, artificially or naturally, or by extraction from substances of a natural origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis;
- “manufacture” further includes any packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container except that this term does not include the preparation or compounding of a controlled substance by an individual for his own use or the preparation, compounding, packaging, or labeling of a controlled substance:
- By a practitioner as an incident to his administering or dispensing of a controlled substance in the course of his professional practice, or (a pharmacist)
- By a practitioner, or by his authorized agent under his supervision, for the purpose of, or as an incident to research, teaching, or chemical analysis and not for sale.”
All of this means that if you are accused of any part of the production of controlled substances, whether it’s packaging or producing it, you can be charged with drug manufacturing. In North Carolina, drug manufacturing can be charged one of two ways:
- Possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a controlled substance
- Drug trafficking
Drug trafficking can only be charged when the drug an individual is accused of having is found in an amount over a certain point. For example, if someone is caught packaging 28 grams of cocaine, they could be charged with drug trafficking, whereas having 27 grams and packaging it into separate baggies would be a charge of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a controlled substance.
Schedules of Controlled Substances
The penalties related to drug possession are dependent on the type of drug, and North Carolina separates specific types into “schedules.” There are six drug schedules, divided by severity or danger related to the drug, with schedule I being the most severe and schedule VI being the least severe.
Schedule I drugs are defined as having a “high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United States, or a lack of accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision.” This list includes, but is not limited to:
- Opiates, including specific types of methofentanyl;
- Opium derivatives, including heroin and morphine;
- Hallucinogenic substances, including LSD and mescaline;
- Synthetic cannabinoids
- Amphetamines and methamphetamines
- Fentanyl analogs
Schedule II controlled substances are determined by the Commission to have a high potential for abuse, are currently accepted for medical use with restrictions, abuse of substances may lead to severe mental or physical dependence. This list includes, but is not limited to:
- Opium, and opium derivatives, such as codeine, hydromorphone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, but excluding naloxone.
- Opiates, including methadone and fentanyl
Schedule III controlled substances are determined by whether their is less potential for abuse than Schedules I and II, offer currently accepted medical benefits in the United States, and abuse leads to low to moderate physical dependence or high mental dependence. Examples of Schedule III drugs include:
- Derivatives of barbituric acid, including compounds containing amobarbital, secobarbital, and pentobarbital;
- Lysergic acid ;
- Anabolic steroids
Controlled substances classified as Schedule IV are determined by the Commission to have a lower potential for abuse compared to Schedule III drugs and have limited physical or mental dependence potential as well as having currently accepted medical use. Examples include, but aren’t limited to:
- Depressants, including Clonazepam, Chloral betaine, Chloral hydrate, Lorazepam, and Mebutamate;
- Stimulants including Fencamfamin, Fenproporex, and Modafinil
Schedule V substances are found to fall under currently accepted medical use and have a low potential for abuse and dependence relative to those listed in Schedule IV. Examples of Schedule V drugs include:
- 200 milligrams of codeine or less;
- 100 milligrams of dihydrocodeine or less;
- 100 milligrams of ethylmorphone or less;
- 2.5 milligrams of diphenoxylate or less;
- 100 milligrams of opium per 100 grams;
- Stimulants, including pyrovalerone;
The only controlled substances that are classified as a Schedule VI are marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols (THC). While there is no currently accepted medical use, the low potential for abuse, risk to public health, and potential for dependence is limited.
Penalties for Drug Manufacturing
A conviction of drug manufacturing can lead to severe penalties.
- Manufacturing methamphetamine is a Class C felony and is punishable by up to 231 months in prison.
- Schedule I or II controlled substances is a Class G felony and is punishable by up to 47 months in prison.
- Schedule III, IV, V substances is a Class H felony and can be punished by up to 39 months in prison.
- Schedule VI substance (marijuana), is a Class I felony and can be punishable by up to 24 months in prison.
Manufacturing Fentanyl Analogs
While the punishment for fentanyl is mentioned above, there are questions about the difference between fentanyl and fentanyl analogs. These are illicitly or illegally manufactured drugs such as acetylfentantly, furanylfentantl, and carfentanil, which have a similar structure to fentanyl but aren’t detected without specialized toxicology testing. However, fentantyl analogs are often to blame for the rise in synthetic opioid-related deaths due to the potency of the drug. Carfentanil is the most potent analog, with an estimated potency of 10,000 times that of morphine.
Because of this, federal laws related to manufacturing fentanyl and fentanyl analogs are incredibly harsh and there is a greater focus on stopping this crime. Cutting prescription drugs, like Percoset, with Fentanyl would also be considered drug manufacturing, and the penalty would be for Fentatanyl, rather than for Percoset, which has a lighter penalty.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Raleigh Drug Manufacturing Defense Attorneys
If you have been accused of manufacturing drugs, a conviction can have life-long consequences. The criminal defense attorneys at Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh will do everything possible to get you the best outcome for your case. When you secure our representation, you have a powerful, experienced ally and advocate fighting on your side. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to schedule a free consultation, contact us today at (919) 845-6688.