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California governor increases penalty for synthetic drugs

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law on Aug. 7 that increases the criminal penalties for those who are convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine or synthetic hash oil in residential neighborhoods in the state. The bill, SB212, was sponsored by Democrat Tony Mendoza, a senator from Artesia.

Under the new law, it will be an aggravated felony for a person to manufacture such drugs close to homes, schools or occupied structures. It is unclear by the reports what the covered distance from these buildings is under the law.

According to the senator, in excess of 812 illegal manufacturing labs have been discovered in residential neighborhoods and public buildings alike in the past several years. Many have been found because explosions or fires that injured numerous people occurred. The new law will make the proximity of the labs to homes, structures and schools an aggravating factor that a judge may take under consideration in order to enhance the sentence of a convicted person.

Drug charges can expose a person to significant criminal penalties, and when allegations of manufacturing or drug distribution are involved, the penalties may go up substantially. The defense in such cases is often highly technical and may require the testimony of experts. People who are charged with drug crimes may want to seek the help of a criminal defense attorney who accepts drug cases as soon as possible after they have been charged. An attorney may be able to spot potential defenses to assert upon their review of the facts of the case and the evidence. They may then file evidentiary motions to challenge the admission of certain types of evidence against their clients.

Source: FOX 40, "Brown boosts penalty for homemade drug makers in California," Aug. 7, 2015.

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