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Defenses to drug manufacturing charges in Oklahoma

Manufacturing or cultivating illegal drugs is a serious crime under both federal and Oklahoma law. Unlike simple possession cases, prosecutors typically charge these crimes as felonies. A conviction can result in a lengthy sentence in state or federal prison. Fortunately, there are ways to defend against these charges.

When police conduct a raid on a suspected drug manufacturing lab, they often arrest everyone they find on the premises. If a defendant can show he or she was there for another purpose and had no knowledge of the manufacturing operation, they should be able to get the charges dismissed.

Sometimes prosecutors will charge an individual with drug manufacturing based on their possession of certain lab equipment or precursor chemicals. But many of these items have legitimate purposes unrelated to the manufacture of illegal drugs. For example, grow lamps are not illegal in themselves and are often used for the indoor cultivation of flowers and other legal plants. Pseudoephedrine is used to manufacture meth but it is also a legal cold remedy available in drugstores. If the defendant can present evidence of legal activities requiring the equipment or chemicals in question, they may be able establish a defense. If the chemicals require a permit, producing the permit may result in dismissal of the charges.

Defendants can also fight drug charges by arguing police engaged in an unlawful search and seizure. If police conducted a search without a warrant, they must meet one of a few limited exceptions to the warrant requirement. If a search warrant was obtained, defense counsel may be able to attack the probable cause allegations that supported the application for the warrant. If the court determines the search was unconstitutional, evidence seized as a result of the search can be thrown out. This often results in a dismissal of the prosecution's case.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation," accessed May 6, 2015

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