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Health And Safety Code 109575 HS | Manufacturing Imitation Controlled Substance


In California, Health and Safety Code 109575 HS, also known as HS 109575, is a criminal offense for individuals who knowingly engage in the manufacturing, distribution, or possession with the intent to distribute imitation controlled substances.

A controlled substance refers to a medication that is regulated and controlled by the government. The offenses outlined in this statute typically involve imitation controlled substances that are replicas of highly addictive medications. Some examples of these medications include Vicodin, OxyContin (Oxy), Demerol, Percocet, Darvocet, Ritalin, Norco, Hydrocodone, Codeine, and more.

Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 109575 (“Any person who knowingly manufactures, distributes, or possesses with intent to distribute, an imitation controlled substance is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, if convicted, be subject to imprisonment for not more than six months in the county jail or a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both the imprisonment and fine.”) Source:

An “imitation controlled substance” refers to a counterfeit drug that is designed to visually resemble a real controlled substance. The statute provides a clear definition for an imitation controlled substance, which includes two scenarios:

  • An imitation controlled substance can be a product intentionally manufactured to mimic the physical appearance of a controlled substance, and it is indistinguishable from a real controlled substance based on outward appearances, according to a reasonable person.
  • Alternatively, an imitation controlled substance can also be a product that is made to look like a genuine controlled substance, and a reasonable person would believe that consuming it would have a stimulant or depressant effect similar to a real drug, based on its appearance.

Overall, the statute has established a specific framework to identify and address counterfeit drugs or substances that closely resemble controlled substances.

A California court has determined that the statute, Health and Safety Code § 109575 HS, does not violate the United States Constitution on grounds of vagueness.

Elements of Crime Under HSC 109575

In order for an individual to be found guilty of violating HS 109575, the prosecutor must establish the following elements:

  • The defendant was aware that he was involved in manufacturing, distributing, or possessing an imitation controlled substance.
  • The defendant was engaged in one or more of the prohibited activities, which include manufacturing a counterfeit controlled substance, distributing it to others, or simply possessing the imitation controlled substance.
  • The defendant has possessed the imitation controlled substance with the specific intent to distribute it to others. The prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant intended to transfer the counterfeit substance to another person.

These are the general requirements, and the specific elements may vary depending on the jurisdiction or specific circumstances of the case.


Emily provides Mark with a straw, specifically with the intent of facilitating the snorting of cocaine. Mark, influenced by Emily’s suggestion, uses the straw Emily gave him and engages in cocaine intake through snorting.

Mike engaged in a transaction where he pretended to possess illegal drugs but instead provided imitation drugs to the unsuspecting buyer. These imitation drugs closely resembled the original controlled substances, leading the buyer to believe they were genuine. After discovering the fraud, the buyer reported the incident to the authorities. Upon investigation and gathering evidence, law enforcement arrested Mike and charged him under Health & Safety Code 109575 for deceptively using imitation controlled substances to commit fraud.

Sarah operated an online store where she marketed pills and powders claiming to have the same effect as illicit drugs. However, these substances were inert or contained harmless ingredients. Unsuspecting customers purchased these products under the false belief that they were buying actual drugs. Eventually, authorities tracked Sarah down, confiscated the fake substances, and charged her under Health & Safety Code 109575 for fraudulent sale of imitation controlled substances.

John had set up a clandestine operation in his basement where he manufactured pills identical in appearance to prescription opioids. These fake pills were then distributed into the illicit drug market, leading to potential harm and danger to unsuspecting individuals who believed they were purchasing genuine controlled substances. Upon investigation, law enforcement discovered the manufacturing lab, seized the counterfeit pills, and arrested John for violating Health & Safety Code 109575.

Penalties, Punishment, And Sentencing

A violation under HS 109575 is considered a misdemeanor offense. If convicted under felony crimes, the individual could face a sentence of up to 180 days in County Jail, with a requirement to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. There is also the possibility of being fined up to $1,000.


Furthermore, individuals convicted under this offense may also be denied entry into the military branches such as the Marines, Navy, Army, etc. Other potential consequences could arise depending on the specific circumstances and may be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Please note; this offense is not classified as a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, nor is it considered a sex offense under PC 290. However, if the person holds a professional license, they may face a loss of that license upon conviction. Additionally, for non-legal residents, multiple prior criminal convictions could potentially lead to deportation in immigration court.

How To Fight Charges Under Health & Safety Code 109575 HS

There are three common defenses that can be used in alleged violations of this statute:

  • No imitation controlled substance: HSC 11357.5 specifically applies to imitation controlled substances as defined in HSC 109550. Therefore, a strong legal defense would involve demonstrating that although the accused party may have engaged in the manufacturing or distribution of a substance, it was not an imitation controlled substance as defined by the law. By doing so, the defense aims to challenge the applicability of the statute to the specific circumstances of the case.
  • Unlawful search and seizure: The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects us from unreasonable “searches and seizures” by law enforcement. Evidence obtained from an unlawful search or seizure can be excluded from a criminal case, potentially resulting in reduced or dismissed charges.
  • Falsely accused: It is common for individuals to face prosecution based on false allegations. False accusations can stem from motives such as jealousy, revenge, and anger. Therefore, it can be a legitimate defense for a defendant to assert that they have been falsely accused of violating HSC 109575. In such cases, it is crucial to present evidence and build a strong defense that challenges the credibility and accuracy of the accusations.

Immigration Consequences

Possession, selling, making, or delivering imitation drugs can be considered crimes involving moral turpitude, as they encompass acts of deceit. Engaging in crimes involving moral turpitude can have significant collateral consequences, particularly for non-US citizens and individuals holding professional licenses, such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, and others.

These collateral consequences may include immigration-related issues, such as potential deportation proceedings for non-US citizens, and the potential for professional license revocation or disciplinary actions for those in regulated professions. It is crucial to be aware of these potential consequences when facing charges related to imitation drugs, as they can have long-lasting impacts on one’s status and professional standing. If you do not have or know of an immigration lawyer, the Tabibnia Law Firm can refer you to one.

Related Crimes

Speak With Criminal Defense Lawyer From Tabibnia Law Firm

If you have been arrested or charged with the manufacture, selling, possession, or delivery of an imitation controlled substance (HS 109575), we recommend reaching out to Los Angeles drug crime lawyer Cyrus Tabibnia at Tabibnia Law Firm for a free consultation. Our lawyer will carefully assess your case and discuss the available defense options with you. He is available to assist you seven days a week. To schedule a consultation, please call +1 866-713-2159 today.

Legal Sources: | Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 109575 | California Code, Health and Safety Code – HSC § 109575 | Offenses and Penalties HS 109575

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

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