The illegal possession, use, and distribution of prescription drugs can lead to serious consequences in Pennsylvania, and many people are facing criminal charges involving prescription medications. Like other drug charges in the state, a conviction for illegal prescription pill use or distribution is severe, and can hold severe penalties and financial consequences.
If you’re facing prescription pills charges in Bethlehem, Stroudsburg, or Palmerton, you need the help of a criminal defense attorney. For more information about the types of crimes involving prescription pills, as well as the consequences of a prescription medication-related conviction, read on.
Prescription Pills-Related Offenses in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, there are three main categories of prescription pills charges. The first is the illegal possession of prescription drugs, the second refers to the possession of prescription drugs with the intent to deliver, and the third is the illegal trafficking of prescription drugs.
Under 35 P.S. Pennsylvania Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act section 780-101 et seq., offenses related to the possession of prescription pills are classified in the same way as other controlled substances.
If a person purchases prescription drugs from another person, obtains them from another person illegally, or obtains them through fraud, he or she is in violation of the law. Illegal possession of prescription drugs is usually charged as a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania.
Acts of fraud or deceptive activity to obtain drugs, which is specifically prohibited, include acts such as:
- stealing a prescription pad to write an illegal prescription;
- creating a fake prescription through the use of the computer; and
- forging a physician’s signature.
The second type of offense related to prescription drugs in Pennsylvania is the distribution of, or intent to deliver, prescription pills. While intent to deliver can mean selling pills, it can also be as insignificant as gifting or loaning a friend a pill. In fact, just giving a friend a pill for anxiety, for example, can be a felony crime in Pennsylvania, even if that person has a prescription for the same drug.
The seriousness and ramifications of this type of crime depend upon both the type of drug and the amount of drug. In order to be convicted of a prescription drug crime with the intent to deliver, the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant in possession of the prescription pills was planning on distributing or selling the drugs.
The third type of prescription pills charge involves drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is a serious crime, and holds severe penalties. The selling or transfer of an illegal drug is considered drug trafficking, and anyone caught doing so will face legal consequences.
Consequences of Crimes Related to Prescription Pills
The penalties for prescription pill charges will depend on the actual type of substance involved. Simple possession of illegal prescription pills is often a first-degree misdemeanor, and carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and fine of up to $5,000. A conviction will also lead to a driver’s license revocation of six months or more.
This may include drugs like Oxycontin. If the possession of prescription pills is a person’s second offense, however, the penalty increases to a two-year prison sentence, and a three-year prison sentence for a third offense.
However, in the case that the prescription pills are schedule II drugs, then possession can result in a felony charge, punishable by a $250,000 fine and 15 years in prison.
The punishments for intent to deliver and drug trafficking also range in severity depending upon the type of prescription drug as well as the amount involved. For example, a drug trafficking conviction involving more than 100 grams of schedule I or II narcotics is a felony carrying up to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines, or more to recover drug profits.
If there are only two to 10 grams, though, the prison sentence is up to two years and up to $5,000 in fines, or as much needed to recover drug profits. Subsequent offenses carry stiffer penalties, as do penalties involving sale to minors.
Legal Defense for Prescription Pill Charges with ARM Lawyers
In order to better under the laws surrounding prescription drugs possession and distribution, as well as the penalties for such crimes, seeking legal counsel is in your best interest. If you are facing prescription pill charges, an attorney can help you better understand your rights.
To work on building your defense today, the attorneys at ARM Lawyers, are ready to help. Call us at 570-257-4509 (Stroudsburg), 484-765-8140 (Palmerton), or 610-849-2788 (Bethlehem). You can also contact us online.