If you watch the mega hit Breaking Bad, you know that the main characters Walter White (a former high school teacher) and his former student/sidekick punk Jesse Pinkman manufacture methamphetamine in part to pay for Walt’s cancer treatment. While they commit many, many crimes, one of the most severe crimes they could be charged with is drug manufacturing.

Drug manufacturing is considered a serious crime by both federal government and state governments, and it carries more severe sentences than simple drug possession. Under Tennessee law, it is a crime to manufacture, deliver or sell a controlled substance or to possess with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a controlled substance.

Drug manufacturing essentially involves the creation of illegal drugs in a growing facility or a laboratory (even Walt and Jesse’s recreational vehicle would be considered a lab). The charges for drug manufacturing can sometimes be inferred from mere possession of the equipment or distributing ingredients needed to produce the illegal drugs if the evidence is strong enough.

For example, in certain cases, manufacturing of marijuana could be proven from the defendant being in possession of grow lamps, marijuana seeds, and other equipment typically used to grow marijuana even if the police found no actual marijuana in the possession of the defendant. However, if a defendant was found with only a small amount of marijuana on his body and no other surrounding indicators, he or she will probably be charged only with drug possession and not with the intent to manufacture or deliver it.

To further illustrate the point, if the police walked in on Walt and Jesse’s recreational vehicle, we can begin to see how they could be charged with manufacturing methamphetamine even if the police found no actual completed product methamphetamine in the RV at the time. The equipment and raw materials present would be enough for the government to charge (and likely prove) that they were manufacturing the illegal drug.

The federal government takes drug manufacturing very seriously. It has its own sentencing guidelines that establish penalties regarding drug manufacturing. In addition to severe prison sentences, the feds also often tack on hefty fines and seize your property. In Tennessee, the penalties for manufacturing controlled substances vary depending on the type of drug being manufactured and the amount or weight attributable to the defendant. Both federal and state sentences can often run for several decades and can even be include life sentences for a large manufacturing operation.

Because of the seriousness of drug manufacturing charges, if you have been charged with this crime it’s important that you consult with an experienced and skilled drug manufacturing defense lawyer right away. These are difficult cases, and you may be facing some very serious charges. Consulting with the right attorney could help you to establish a valid defense to the charges.