Many Texans think possessing prescription drugs or pills without written authorization is not a big deal. Doctors wouldn’t be able to prescribe substances that are harmful or addictive, many people think. In truth, prescription-grade narcotics have significantly contributed to the opioid epidemic.
Every day, innocent people who have never taken street drugs can become addicted to prescription-grade narcotics. As a result, law enforcement officers at the state and federal levels have begun investigating cases involving prescription drug use. It is more common than ever for defendants to be prosecuted for possessing prescription medication for which they do not have a prescription.
Types of Prescription Drug Charges in Texas
The majority of charges related to illegally obtaining prescription drugs involve some type of fraud. Any party can commit misrepresentation, forgery, deception, and fraud. Patients (or users), doctors, and pharmaceutical distributors, and manufacturers are subject to the same laws surrounding the proper and legal handling of prescribed substances.
Most often, it is the patient prosecutors charge with criminal activities. For example, doctor shopping is a type of crime involving several fraud charges. Prosecutors can also bring charges for the unlawful possession or movement of prescription drugs, including for diversion of a controlled substance to the unlawful use of another and possession of an invalid prescription or prescription form.
The Penalties for Prescription Drug Charges are Serious
Depending on the specific type of substance involved, a defendant may face up to a year in jail for illegally possessing prescription medications. If the defendant has been found with 28 grams or more of prescription-level narcotics, they will likely be charged with drug trafficking and may face a lengthy prison sentence. It is uncommon for defendants to face additional charges after they have been arrested with prescription narcotics. Sometimes defendants are found to be in illegal possession of a gun or another weapon while they have been arrested for possessing prescription medication.
A defendant may have other types of controlled substances, such as cocaine or marijuana, or be in possession of drug paraphernalia. When prosecutors bring multiple counts of drug-related charges and the defendant is convicted, the court may require that the sentences for each offense run consecutively. In this case, the defendant would serve the entire prison time for the first count before being credited with serving time for the second or third count.
Discuss Your Case With a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal charges involving the unlawful possession or distribution of prescription medication are serious and carry severe penalties. You could face years in prison, heavy fines, and a permanent criminal record if convicted. Drug-related convictions will show up on background checks and could hurt your employment and housing opportunities. You may be barred from certain professions due to the conviction. It is worth taking the time to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Abel Law Firm to schedule a free case evaluation.