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Charlotte NC Attorneys at Law
Rosensteel Fleishman

Manufacture of Controlled Substance

Manufacturing a controlled substance is one of North Carolina’s serious drug crimes. In North Carolina, it is a felony to manufacture a controlled substance and punishable by months or years in jail. An experienced defense attorney can determine how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you navigate the legal process. Call Mr. Rosensteel so that he can determine the best course of action for you.

North Carolina statute makes it a crime to manufacture or possess with the intent to manufacture any controlled substance. The term “manufacture” is defined as “the 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; and … further includes any packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container.”

The severity of the punishment for manufacturing a controlled substance is based on what type of controlled substance is manufactured. A person who manufactures a controlled substance classified in Schedule I or II is punished as a Class H felon. Schedules I and II include controlled substances such as LSD, mescaline, heroin, MDPV, cocaine, codeine, and oxycodone. North Carolina law provides that a person who commits a Class H felony must receive a sentence between 4 and 25 months, depending on the person’s prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions may receive a community or intermediate punishment, but the court is permitted to sentence any person convicted of a Class H felony to active jail time.

Methamphetamine is included as a Schedule II controlled substance, but North Carolina statute sets out a separate punishment for the manufacture of methamphetamine. Someone who manufactures methamphetamine is punished as a Class C felon, “unless the offense was one of the following: packaging or repackaging methamphetamine, or labeling or relabeling the methamphetamine container,” in which case it is punished as a Class H felony. A person who commits a Class C felony must be sentenced to punishment between 44 and 182 months, depending on prior convictions, and this punishment must be active jail time.

A person who manufactures a controlled substance classified in Schedule III, IV, V, or VI is punished as a Class I felon. Schedules III, IV, V, and VI include controlled substances such as Vicodin, Tylenol with codeine, Xanax, Valium, Robitussin A-C, Lyrica and marijuana. North Carolina law provides that a person who commits a Class I felony must receive a sentence between 3 and 12 months, depending on the person’s prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions must receive a community punishment, but the court is permitted to sentence a person with prior convictions to active jail time.

 

Intent to Manufacture

Because intent goes to a person’s mental state, there is rarely direct evidence that a person acted with the requisite intent to manufacture a controlled substance. Intent is often proven by circumstantial evidence, meaning that the person’s intent is inferred from the surrounding facts and circumstances. Such surrounding facts and circumstances might include finding other items used to manufacture the controlled substance in the same location.

 

Possession

A person possesses an item when he has the power and intent to control its disposition or use. Possession can be either actual or constructive. A person has actual possession of an item when he has the item on his person, he is aware of the presence of the item and he has the power and intent to control its disposition or use. A person can have constructive possession of an item that is not on his person, but of which presence he is aware and has the power and intent to control its disposition or use. If a person has exclusive possession of the place where the item is found, this is typically sufficient to establish constructive possession of the item.  If the person does not have exclusive possession of the place in which the item is found, other incriminating circumstances are necessary to show constructive possession.

 

Possession of Immediate Precursor Chemical with Intent to Manufacture

It is also a crime

  • to possess an immediate precursor chemical with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance;
  • to possess or distribute an immediate precursor chemical when you know or should know that the chemical will be used to manufacture a controlled substance; or
  • to possess a pseudoephedrine product if you’ve had a prior conviction for possession of or manufacturing methamphetamine.

 

A violation of this law is punished as a Class H felony. North Carolina law provides that a person who commits a Class H felony must receive a sentence between 4 and 25 months, depending on the person’s prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions may receive a community or intermediate punishment, but the court is permitted to sentence any person convicted of a Class H felony to active jail time.

An “immediate precursor” is defined as “a substance which the Commission has found to be and by regulation designates as being the principal compound commonly used or produced primarily for use, and which is an immediate chemical intermediary used or likely to be used in the manufacture of a controlled substance, the control of which is necessary to prevent, curtail, or limit such manufacture.”

 

Possession of an Immediate Precursor Chemical with Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine

Just as the manufacturing of methamphetamine is punished more severely than the manufacturing of other Schedule II controlled substances, the possession of an immediate precursor chemical with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine is also punished more severely. If a person either

  • possesses an immediate precursor chemical with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine, or
  • possesses or distributes an immediate precursor chemical when he knows or should know that the immediate precursor chemical will be used to manufacture methamphetamine,

 

he is punished as a Class F felon. A person who commits a Class F felony must be sentenced to punishment between 10 and 41 months, depending on prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions may receive intermediate punishment, but any person convicted of a Class F felony may receive active jail time.

 

Exceptions

The term “manufacturing” does not include

  • preparing or compounding a controlled substance by an individual for his own use, or
  • preparing, compounding, packaging, or labelling a controlled substance by a practitioner to either administer or dispense in the course of his practice or for the purpose of researching or teaching and not for sale.

 

If a person argues that his conduct falls under an exception to the manufacturing of a controlled substance, it is his burden to prove that his conduct was authorized.

If you have been charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, contact an attorney at Rosensteel Fleishman, PLLC (704) 714-1450, to discuss your options.