Pseudoephedrine Lawyers

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 What is Pseudoephedrine?

Pseudoephedrine is a chemical compound that is commonly found in over-the-counter decongestants. The FDA has approved it for human consumption.

Pseudoephedrine is regulated as an over-the-counter medication. In addition to its medicinal properties, pseudoephedrine is also used to manufacture methamphetamines, which are illegal to:

  • Use;
  • Possess;
  • Manufacture; and
  • Sell.

What is Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth is the street name for methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant.

The substance resembles crystals, hence the name crystal meth. It is typically classified as either a Schedule II or a Schedule III substance, which makes it illegal to possess for personal use or distribution.

Crystal meth may be:

  • Ingested;
  • Injected; or
  • Smoked.

It is a highly addictive substance that may lead to numerous personal, medical, or legal problems. Law enforcement has recently seen a nationwide explosion of crystal meth use and distribution nationwide.

The situation worsens because of new methods to produce the drug. In past years, rooms or garages were converted into meth labs.

These labs were typically very dangerous and could somewhat easily be detected. New methods for creating crystal meth have allowed individuals to manufacture the substance with fewer materials.

This makes it more difficult for law enforcement to track down drug producers.

What is a Meth Lab?

A meth lab is considered to be any structure, dwelling, or building that is used for the manufacturing, or cooking, of methamphetamines. There are several common signs of meth labs, including:

  • Unusual, strong chemical odors, similar to:
    • cat urine;
    • ether;
    • ammonia; or
    • acetone;
  • Blacked out or covered windows;
  • Excessive trash containing unusually large amounts of:
    • fuel cans;
    • anti-freeze;
    • drain cleaner; or
    • other chemicals;
  • High traffic during late hours; and
  • Frequent visitors who are only at the residence for a few minutes.

Are there Federal Laws Against Meth Labs?

In recent years, the Federal Government has prioritized the fight against methamphetamines. The Comprehensive Methamphetamine Act was passed in 1996.

This Act:

  • Permits the domestic seizure and forfeiture of methamphetamine precursor chemicals, including pseudoephedrine;
  • Directs the Attorney General to coordinate international drug enforcement efforts to interdict these types of chemicals;
  • Increases penalties for the possession of equipment used to make controlled substances, and for trafficking in certain precursor chemicals; and
  • Requires an interagency task force to develop and implement the following related to meth:
    • prevention;
    • education; and
    • treatment strategies.

The penalties for a federal conviction involving meth are severe. Mandatory minimum drug sentences require 5 to 10 years of incarceration for the manufacture of meth, depending on the amount that is seized by law enforcement.
In addition, substantial criminal fines will also be imposed.

Are there State Laws Against Meth Labs?

Every state has laws prohibiting the manufacture of meth. State penalties for manufacturing meth will vary by state.

However, it is important to note that manufacturing meth is a felony in all states. Despite the variations by state, if convicted, an individual may expect a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines.

In addition, many states have begun regulating the sale of over-the-counter cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine. These regulations limit the amount an individual can buy or sell.

Additionally, possessing certain amounts of these drugs is a criminal offense.

What Other Crimes are Associated with Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth is associated with certain specific crimes that occur among addictive street drugs, including:

  • Theft crimes– Users of crystal meth frequently steal to support their habit;
  • Assault and battery– Users often become hostile. In addition, their physical strength and inhibition may increase dramatically;
  • Resisting arrest– Users may become so strong that it takes 4 or 5 police officers to subdue the person;
  • Gang activity– Crystal meth is often linked to gang activity and violence; and
  • Pseudoephedrine violations– Pseudoephedrine is one of several substances used to make meth. It is contained in many over-the-counter medicines. Certain states limit the amount of pseudoephedrine products an individual can purchase daily.

In many cases, crystal meth users will experience paranoia and hallucinations. This may increase the occurrence of violent and property crimes among drug users.

Because of this, the insanity defense may be applied in certain crystal meth cases.

What are the Penalties for Meth Crimes?

The criminal penalties for convictions of crystal meth crimes are becoming stricter. Possession of meth may result in criminal fines from $1,000 to $500,000, depending on the case’s amount and circumstances.

Incarceration times may range from less than 1 year to over 20 years. If an individual is convicted of selling or distributing methamphetamines, criminal fines may range from $5,000 to $1,000,000.

In addition, incarceration times may increase. Repeat offenses for the possession or sale of the drug may cause a defendant to face harsher consequences.

In some jurisdictions, felony charges will be imposed for all crystal meth charges.

Does the Law Regulate Pseudoephedrine?

Until recent years, pseudoephedrine was regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an over-the-counter substance. Due to the growth of meth use and the common practice of using pseudoephedrine for manufacturing meth, there has been a push to regulate pseudoephedrine more thoroughly.

Federal laws prohibit purchasing medication containing pseudoephedrine in quantities greater than 3 packages within 24 hours. Congress is considering classifying pseudoephedrine as a Schedule V drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

Several states have enacted legislation governing the sale of pseudoephedrine, including:

  • California: Makes possession of pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamines illegal. It also limits amount that can legally be purchased;
  • Florida: Requires sellers of pseudoephedrine to keep the product behind a counter. It limits amount that can legally be purchased;
  • Georgia: Requires sellers of pseudoephedrine to keep the product behind a counter. It limits amount that can legally be purchased and requires that products be sold in blister packaging;
  • Illinois: Requires purchasers to show a valid ID and to sign a log;
  • Michigan: Requires product to be kept behind the counter or in a locked case and requires purchasers to provide ID and sign log;
  • New Jersey: Limits the amount of pseudoephedrine that can legally be purchased;
  • Ohio: Restricts the amount of pseudoephedrine that can legally be purchased and bans the sale to minors;
  • Oklahoma: Classifies pseudoephedrine as a Schedule V drug. It requires purchasers to present an ID and sign a log. It also limits the amount which can legally be purchased;
  • Oregon: Classifies pseudoephedrine as a Schedule III drug under state law and makes possession of more than 300 tablets a crime;
  • Texas: Encourages voluntary action by retailers to reduce illegal sales, such as by limiting the quantity that can be purchased or taking measures to prevent theft of pseudoephedrine;
  • Virginia: Requires product to be kept behind the counter or in a locked case and requires purchasers to provide an ID and sign a log; limits the amount that can legally be purchased.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have been charged with any criminal offense related to pseudoephedrine, it is important to consult with a drug lawyer. Your lawyer can advise you of the laws of your state and can explain any defenses that may be available to you.

A felony conviction can affect many aspects of your life outside your criminal record, including employment and child custody issues. Because a conviction can have such an impact, it is important to have a lawyer protecting your rights in court.

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