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Last Updated on: 19th October 2023, 01:20 pm
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and dangerous drug. It presents a danger not only to the user but also to anyone exposed to its making. For these reasons, states and the federal government highly regulate meth and the chemicals used to make it.
Meth is often referred to as “crystal meth.” The adjective describes the physical appearance of the drug, which (unlike many drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine) is made from chemicals, not plants. After mixing the chemicals, the drug is made into a powdery substance or a rock-like crystal, hence the name. Meth can be smoked, snorted, and injected. Meth also goes by the names “ice,” “speed,” “crank,” and “glass.”
Making meth is a dangerous process. The chemicals are quite volatile, and when mixed they create toxic fumes that permeate everything they touch, including walls, furniture, clothing, and plumbing. The residue remains long after the product (and the criminals) have departed, and its clean-up is long, arduous, and expensive.
In most instances, possession, sale, and manufacturing of meth is illegal and carries stiff penalties. Making meth is considered so dangerous that most states and the federal government have criminal laws prohibiting unlawful possession of precursors used to make meth (such as ephedrine and anhydrous ammonia), plus enhanced penalties for making meth near children.
Possession of methamphetamine is a crime in every state and under federal law. To secure a conviction, the prosecutor must convince the judge or jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant knew that the substance possessed or used was meth.
Under federal law, a first drug-possession offense is a misdemeanor, but repeat possession offenses are felonies with up to two or three years of prison time. These penalties apply to the possession of meth, as well as to the possession of certain amounts of its chemical precursors (more than 9 grams of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine base). (21 U.S.C. § 844 (2023).)
State laws vary widely but generally classify possession of even small amounts of meth as a felony. Depending on the amount possessed and the defendant’s criminal history, potential penalties range from probation to several years in prison.
Sale penalties often start as felonies. Federal law penalizes the distribution of between 5 and 50 grams of meth with felony penalties starting at 5 to 40 years in prison. Distributing 50 grams or more carries a minimum 10-year sentence and up to life in prison. Enhanced penalties apply for repeat offenses and any sale that results in death or serious bodily harm to the user. (21 U.S.C. § 841 (2023).)
State laws vary but generally classify the sale of meth as a felony punishable by substantial prison time. Depending on the amount sold and the defendant’s criminal history, potential penalties range from several years to life in prison.
Because making meth is extremely dangerous, most states and the federal government impose harsh penalties for making meth, operating meth labs, and possessing certain chemicals or paraphernalia with intent to make meth.
Under federal law, manufacturing meth carries the same penalties as the sale of meth. These penalties are based on the amount of meth involved and the defendant’s criminal history. Penalties range from five years to life in prison. (21 U.S.C. § 841 (2023).)
It’s a crime to possess ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or other meth precursors with the intent to make meth. The federal crime carries up to 20 years in prison. (21 U.S.C. § 841 (2023).)
Some states have separate crimes for operating meth labs. For instance, Pennsylvania has a separate crime for operating a meth lab that causes chemical reactions involving meth precursors. The state makes the offense a second-degree felony, which increases to a first-degree felony if the lab is near a school, college, daycare, or recreation center. There’s also a third-degree felony offense for illegally dumping waste from a meth lab operation. (18 Pa. C.S.A. §§ 3313, 7508.2 (2023).)
Anhydrous ammonia—an agricultural fertilizer—was previously a key ingredient in the illegal manufacturing of meth. Although its use in making meth has declined with new methods taking over, the laws prohibiting stealing or possessing anhydrous ammonia with the intent of making meth are still on the books. The federal penalty carries up to a 10-year prison sentence. (21 U.S.C. § 843 (2023).)
If charged with a drug crime related to meth, your defense attorney may raise the following defenses.
If the drugs weren’t yours or police incorrectly identified you as the drug dealer, you might assert your innocence. Your defense attorney may present an alibi defense to prove you were somewhere else or challenge an eyewitness’s identification as unreliable or mistaken.
Evidence of the drugs must be obtained legally by police. If police conducted an unlawful search or seizure that led to the discovery of the drugs, the judge might toss out the evidence under the exclusionary rule. Talk to a Lawyer If you’re facing charges for meth possession, sale, or manufacturing, don’t go it alone. Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights.
With an aggressive legal defense, it may be possible to get the charges against you reduced or even dismissed. A knowledgeable attorney will evaluate the prosecutor’s case, pinpoint any constitutional violations or other police misconduct, and present legal defenses that show your innocence or otherwise undermine the prosecution’s case against you.
An attorney can also negotiate with the prosecutor for a favorable plea bargain or sentencing concessions that minimize the penalties if convicted at trial. Whatever the circumstances, don’t take a chance with your future—consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
When researching criminal defense lawyers to represent you on meth charges, here are some important factors to consider:
Facing criminal charges is scary. But with an experienced meth crimes lawyer guiding you through the legal process, you can get the best possible outcome in your case.
When facing methamphetamine manufacturing charges in the United States, it’s crucial to seek the services of an experienced meth manufacture lawyer to aggressively defend your case. Charges may come from merely possessing similar products used in meth labs. Consequences of these charges can include imprisonment, large fines, asset forfeiture, loss of driver’s license, and loss of parenting rights if children were involved. It’s important to let the attorney investigate the case and keep silent during police questioning. Schedule a consultation with a meth manufacture lawyer to discuss case details and plan a strategy for the best possible outcome.
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