Possession of prescribed drugs, in any of their forms, brands, categories, or concentrations, without a legitimate prescription in more than the prescribed amount, is a universally unlawful offense with severe legal and financial repercussions. Those caught illegally possessing prescribed drugs are likely to face misdemeanor or felony charges carrying penalties of arrest, charges, prosecution, imprisonment, a life-long record, court-ordered drug rehabilitation, law enforcement monitoring conditions, driver’s license suspension, and excessive court fines.
Prescription drugs, classified as any pharmaceutical medication that can’t be legally sold or obtained without a prescription from a licensed physician, encompass a good kind of medication categories. This includes stimulants, opioid painkillers, central systema nervosum (CNS) depressants, and antipsychotics. Prescription medication is lawfully and frequently prescribed to treat an ever-expanding range of medical conditions. However, despite their widely acknowledged medical applications, prescription medications are commonly abused by offenders.
The abuse of opioid medication was recently labeled as a plague by the United States’ Department of Health and Human Services. There are an estimated 11.4 million people currently misusing this category of prescribed drugs. Additionally, to the present public health emergency, depressants and stimulants are often abused, especially in young adult populations. thanks to their dangerous potential for abuse, physical and psychological dependence. Prescribed drugs are classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) under Schedule II, III, IV, or V categories, depending upon the risks and probability of addiction.
The criminal charges and penalties associated with the abuse, possession, or distribution of prescribed drugs are mostly dependent upon the drug’s federal schedule categorization and state-level drug mandates. It may vary considerably in every state. The brevity of the penalties related to these charges is usually determined by the quantity of the substance within an individual’s possession, the circumstance of their possession, and their relative criminal history. While there are notable differences between drug schedules, the illegality of prescription-controlled substance (prescription drug) possession is universal throughout the United States.
Crimes Associated With Prescription Drug Charges
Regardless of their widespread availability, due to their federal drug classification, the possession of any prescription medication without a prescription or in violation of the conditions of a prescription is illegal with considerable legal and financial repercussions. Additionally, individuals with a prescription substance use disorder or dependence who are unable to get these drugs lawfully may address illegal acquisition methods like the black market and prescription fraud. Both illegal ways to acquire the medication have its legal consequences.
Criminal offenses related to the illegal use, possession, or distribution of the prescription medication typically fall into state law and are subject to a misdemeanor or felony prosecution. Most of the time, misdemeanor charges are applied to small amounts of possession and disorderly offenses, like the illegal use of a prescription. Felony prosecution is usually given to repeat offenders, prescription fraud, larger possession quantities, and illegal distribution of prescribed drugs. The state penalties of a person caught with prescribed drugs are going to be under the federal classification. The penalties and charges will be determined by the substance in an individual’s possession, the number of the substance possessed, and the nature of possession.
While sentences are largely based on every jurisdiction and drug schedules, generally speaking, those convicted of misdemeanor offenses can expect to face small court fines, probation, short terms of imprisonment, and court-ordered rehabilitation. Felony convictions are more likely to end in years to decades-long incarceration and expensive fines.
While most prescription offenses are prosecuted at the state level, certain offenses like trafficking can be prosecuted at the federal level. For instance, under the guidelines of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, trafficking prescription medication can be subjected to a federal felony offense with a mandatory minimum fine from $100,000 to $5 million. The jail time can range from one year to 20 years. The maximum sentence is 30 years with a $10 million penalty.
Possessing Prescriptions Drug Without Prescriptions
Prescription drug charges associated with the unlawful possession of controlled substances without a prescription are numerous and range widely from a misdemeanor to felony intent in distributing and trafficking.
Whether prescription or otherwise, strict regulations regarding drug possession are put in place. The only way to legally have a prescribed drug is to have a prescription from a physician or a certified pharmacist. Moreover, must ensure that the quantity of a prescription drug in his or her possession must only be within the prescribed dosage.