Manufacture of a Dangerous Drug (A.R.S. §13-3407)
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Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, pursuant to ARS §13-3406, §13-3407 (A)(4), and §13-3408 (A)(3), it is unlawful to manufacture, or to posses the equipment to manufacture, dangerous drugs, prescription-only drugs, and narcotics.
The prosecution typically charges possession of manufacturing materials when a defendant possesses certain chemicals or items which could be used to manufacture these drugs. Many times this is what is known as a “meth lab.” A person can be criminally convicted for simply possessing the manufacturing equipment without actually manufacturing a single dose of the drug.
Possible Punishment for Manufacture of Dangerous Drugs
Punishments for charges of manufacturing a dangerous drug can be severe and range based on several factors as follow:
- If a defendant is convicted of manufacturing, or possessing equipment and chemicals for the purpose of manufacturing a prescription-only drug, it is a class one (1) misdemeanor, punishable by a term of probation or up to 6 months in jail, and a fine of up to $2,500.00. Additionally, the defendant must pay a separate fine of $1,000.
A person is charged for simply possessing the manufacturing equipment for a dangerous drug or a narcotic with a class three (3) felony. The following punishments are given:
- For a first offense it can range anywhere from probation with zero (0) days in jail up to 1 year in jail -or- 2 years to 8.75 years in prison.
- If a person has one (1) allegeable historical prior felony conviction, the “prison only” range will be 3.5 years to 16.25 years in prison.
- If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior felony convictions then the “prison only” range will be 7.5 years to 25 years in prison.
If the person is found to actually have manufactured dangerous drugs or narcotics, they can then be charged with a class two (2) felony.
- If the drug manufactured is in an amount that is at, or above the statutory threshold amount below, then the defendant is not eligible for probation and prison is required.
- The “prison only” range is 3 years to 12.5 years of incarceration.
- If a person has one (1) allegeable historical prior felony conviction (regardless if the current case is “above” or “below” threshold), then the “prison only” range is 4.5 years to 23.25 years of incarceration.
- If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior felony convictions, then the “prison only” range is 10.5 years to 35 years of incarceration.
Common drug “threshold” amounts which require a mandatory prison sentence are:
- Nine (9) grams for methamphetamine;
- Nine (9) powdered grams of cocaine or three quarter (3/4) gram in rock (crack) form;
- One (1) gram of heroin;
- Half (1/2) millimeter, or fifty (50) dosage units (blotter form), of LSD;
- Four (4) grams, or fifty (50) milliliters, of PCP.
If the amount is below the threshold amount, then a first offense can carry anywhere from probation with zero (0) days to 1 year in jail, or prison of 3 years to 12.5 years of incarceration.
Possible Defenses for Manufacture of Dangerous Drugs
The key to defending against a Possession of Manufacturing Equipment charge is demonstrating that you did not “knowingly” possess the equipment (i.e., “Lack of Knowledge”). For example, if you live in a household with multiple roommates and you were unaware that your roommates were engaging in this type of drug activity or had these items in your house. We would present evidence that the defendant’s fingerprints are not on the chemicals or the manufacturing equipment itself, it was in a separate area of the house, and all the other people that had access and ownership over the equipment. We would also use this same evidence to defend against a Manufacturing of Drugs charge; that the defendant was not the person using any of the equipment.
If a defendant has knowledge that his roommates are engaging in this type of activity, as long as he does not knowingly participate and facilitate the illegal enterprise, then they are not guilty of Manufacturing Dangerous Drugs, nor are they guilty of Possessing the Manufacturing Equipment. These defenses of course assume that the equipment is not in the defendant’s actual bedroom or some other place under his exclusive control, and it was out in a garage area or other separate location. Additionally, even if the equipment is the defendant’s. we would present evidence that the defendant was not using the equipment to manufacture drugs. There are many perfectly legal reasons that a person would have in their possession an object or objects that could be used to manufacture drugs. It does not mean that the defendant was actually using the objects to manufacture drugs.
Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case.
Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gunshot residue testing; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc.. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Manufacture of Drugs lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.