Prescription Drugs Can Lead To Serious Criminal Charges
When most people think of drug crimes, they likely first think of offenses involving cocaine, heroin, crack, or methamphetamine. However, these are not the only types of drugs that can lead to arrest, serious criminal charges, and felony convictions. Prescription drugs can also lead to criminal cases when they are unlawfully possessed, sold, or even given away without proper authorization.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) claims that prescription drug abuse has become a “serious public health problem” in the United States. NIDA estimations indicate that 20 percent of individuals over the age of 12–about 52 million individuals–have taken prescription medication without an appropriate medical reason. Most of these prescription drugs are either stolen from others or wrongfully given away by individuals who have a valid prescription. Whether a person possesses drugs without a prescription or hands out their own prescription drugs to those with no valid prescription, there can be serious consequences.
According to NIDA, some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs include the following:
- Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, and other opioids prescribed for pain;
- Valium, Xanax, Alprazolam, and other depressants prescribed for sleep or anxiety disorders; and
- Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, and other stimulants and amphetamines to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and similar conditions.
Unauthorized use and distribution of prescription drugs such as these is unlawful under both the federal Controlled Substances Act and the Florida Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. The severity of the penalties that come with a prescription drug conviction will depend on the type of alleged offense, the type of prescription drug involved, and the amount of pills that were possessed or transferred. In addition, the penalties may be more severe if federal authorities choose to prosecute the case instead of state prosecutors. Some penalties that individuals convicted of prescription drug crimes may face include the following:
- Drug court;
- Prison time;
- Felony conviction on their criminal record.
In addition to the effects on a person’s freedom and finances, a drug conviction can also substantially limit future educational and professional prospects. Drug convictions can disqualify someone from obtaining federal student funding and some companies will not hire anyone with a felony conviction on their record. Such a mark on a criminal record can also cause a landlord to deny a rental application. Finally, if a convicted drug offender faces any subsequent drug charges in the future, the penalties for a conviction will likely be much harsher.
Do Not Delay In Contacting a Boca Raton Criminal Defense Attorney
Charges involving prescription drugs can lead to felony convictions and very serious penalties. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to defend against these charges and an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Boca Raton will work to identify potential defenses in your specific case and will strive to protect you against violations of your constitutional rights and wrongful conviction. Time is of the essence in all criminal cases, however, especially involving controlled substances. Please do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Lavalle, Brown & Ronan today at 888-646-1315 to learn more about how we can provide a skilled defense against your charges.