While using prescriptions drugs that you were legally prescribed as intended is a good idea, using prescription drugs that are not yours is definitely not. In fact, doing so can lead to a whole host of legal problems that could see you facing a number of financial penalties as well as harsher punishment. It’s important to keep in mind that distributing, using, or even just possessing prescription drugs to which you are not legally entitled can lead to serious consequences. If you are facing charges related to prescription drug possession, you should seek out an attorney right away.
Do I really need a lawyer?
In the state of Pennsylvania, illegally distributing, using, and possessing prescription drugs is a crime. In fact, it’s a crime that tends to carry serious consequences that could alter the course of your life entirely. Depending upon your personal goals and interests, you might find yourself locked out of your dream career or unable to easily rent a home if you are convicted. Keep in mind that this is your future in question and that investing in an attorney is the same thing as investing in yourself. You want to make sure that you have the best shot at obtaining a good legal outcome to your case possible, which is why you should reach out to individuals who can offer you some of the best legal counsel around. Attorney James H. Bonner, Esquire, can help you with your prescription drug possession charges and explain the potential consequences you could face.
Pennsylvania and Prescription Drug Possession
While every case presents its own complexities and specific charges, there are three general categories to which illegal prescription drug possession charges belong:
- Prescription Drug Possession
- Prescription Drug Possession with Intention to Distribute/Deliver
- Prescription Drug Trafficking
The categories are fairly well-defined, however keep in mind that each main category has its own host of smaller charges that might apply in your case. And if you think that the possession of prescription drugs isn’t as serious an offense as the possession of controlled substances, think again. According to the guidelines laid down in Pennsylvania’s Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act the illegal possession of prescription pills is treated the same way that the illegal possession of controlled substances is treated. That means that you could face the same kind of harsh penalties that individuals found with controlled substances might experience.
Keep in mind that both seller and buyer are at fault when it comes to the illegal possession of prescription drugs. Purchasing them, taking them from someone illegally, and obtaining them via fraud will put you on the opposite side of the law and are all separate charges that are generally charged as misdemeanors. The intent to distribute or deliver prescription drugs, however, is a more serious offense generally charged as a felony in Pennsylvania. The exact punishment you face will depend upon the amount of the drug you had in your possession as well as the kind of drug in question. Finally, drug trafficking is an equally serious charge that tends to go hand-in-hand with prescription drug possession with the intention to distribute or deliver.
Pennsylvania and Prescription Drug Possession Penalties
The actual consequences for the illegal possession of prescription drugs vary widely depending upon the drug in question and the amount of it that is involved. Simple possession – possession where the intent is not to distribute or otherwise deliver or traffic the drug – is often prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor. You could face as much as one year in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Note that subsequent simple possession charges can increase the prison length associated with the conviction. A second-time offender might face two years in prison, for example, while a third-time offender could spend three years in prison. If schedule II drugs are involved, then even simple possession can be charged as a felony. This would lead to potential prison time of 15 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Possessing a prescription drug with the intention to distribute or deliver it also carries punishments that run the spectrum of severity depending upon the drug type and the amount involved. For cases with less than 10 grams of a prescription drug, for example, offenders could pay as much as $5,000 in fines and spend as much as two years in prison. If the amount in question is over 100 grams, then the charge is a felony. You could spend five years in prison and face a fine as steep as $25,000. Note that if you made more than $25,000 in profit from the drugs, then your fine can be increased to cover the total amount of profits you received.
If you are facing prescription drug possession charges in Pennsylvania, attorney James H. Bonner, Esquire, can help. Reach out to him today for more information!
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