Prescription Drugs Possession Defense
Orlando Prescription Drugs Defense Attorney
The misuse of prescription drugs is rampant in Florida, and throughout the country. Prescription drug abuse often causes significant damage to users and their families and is commonly linked to widespread criminal activity.
For these reasons, law enforcement is adamant about punishing people who they believe are guilty of possessing, selling, or trafficking prescription drugs. Of course, the perception of law enforcement is not always correct, and their mistake can lead to you wrongfully serving time in prison, paying fines, or facing other serious consequences.
It is crucial to have an experienced lawyer to represent you if you are facing prescription drug charges. Our legal professionals are dedicated to protecting your rights and helping you achieve a favorable outcome.
Prescription Drug Charges
A person can be charged with a prescription drug offense if they have drugs in their possession or appear to be involved in the sale of trafficking of drugs. In cases of drug crimes specifically involving prescription drugs, the drugs must serve a legitimate medical purpose in some settings, but are being illegally distributed, used recreationally, or otherwise abused.
In a drug crime case, a person may be charged with:
- Possession: If you have any amount of a prescription drug in your possession, that you do not have a prescription for (or a police officer does not believe you have a prescription for), you can be charged with a crime.
- Manufacturing: This charge relates to the illegal creation of a drug.
- Fraud: When prescription drugs are involved, a person may commit an offense by deceiving doctors in an attempt to receive a drug they do not need for a medical reason or excess amounts of a substance.
- Sale/distribution: You may be arrested for this crime if law enforcement believed you were selling prescription drugs.
- Trafficking: Trafficking is a more serious charge than the sale of drugs. While both crimes relate to distribution, trafficking cases generally involve accusations of moving large amounts of drugs between different locales.
Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs
Many different types of prescription drugs are abused, and for various reasons. Pain medication is one of the most-often abused types of prescription drugs, along with anti-anxiety medication and stimulants.
Prescription drugs that are often the subject of criminal charges include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Diazepam (Valium)
Prescription Drug Statutes in Florida
Law enforcement can attempt to associate even minor amounts of prescription pills with a criminal trafficking enterprise. The following Florida statutes are targeted specifically at prescription drug abuse:
Illegal Possession of Prescription Drugs – Fla. Stat. § 893.13(6)(a)
Any amount in your possession, even a single pill, can be charged with a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Felony offenses take away your right to vote, own a firearm, sit on a jury, and severely impact your employment.
Distribution or Possession with Intent to Distribute Prescription Drugs – Fla. Stat. § 893.13(1)(a)
It is unlawful for any person to sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance. Depending on the particular prescription drug and the quantity, the penalties can range from a maximum prison term of fifteen years and up to $10,000 in fines to a maximum of five years in prison, and $5,000 in fines.
Prescription Drug Trafficking– Fla. Stat. § 893.135(1)(c)
The government views a surprisingly small amount of pills as evidence of
drug trafficking. Doctors whose exams are not sufficiently thorough for
undercover agents and those pulled over and searched during a routine
traffic stop can find themselves with very steep consequences.
Drug traffickers are those who knowingly sell, purchase, manufacture, deliver, or bring into the State of Florida, or who is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of certain amounts of prescription drugs.
- Trafficking in 4 to 14 grams of oxycodone or hydrocodone results in a three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and a $50,000 fine. Four grams is roughly seven hydrocodone pills and 31 oxycodone pills.
- Trafficking in 14 to 28 grams of oxycodone or hydrocodone carries a fifteen-year mandatory minimum prison sentence and $100,000 fine.
- Trafficking in 28 grams to 30 kilograms of oxycodone or hydrocodone may be penalized by a 25-year mandatory minimum prison term and $500,000 in fines.
Doctor Shopping and Prescription Drug Fraud – Fla. Stat. § 893.13(7)(a)8 and 9
The state is attempting to combat “doctor shopping,” or visiting
multiple pain clinics to receive multiple and excessive prescription drugs,
by requiring patients to tell their doctors they have received a similar
prescription drug from a different provider within the past 30 days. If
the patient is not truly in pain, but makes false representations in order
to garner a prescription, the patient may be charged with fraud.
Both of these actions are third degree felonies with a possible five-year prison term and $5,000 fine.
Potential Defense Strategies
Although it may have appeared to law enforcement that you were guilty of a crime, there are many legitimate reasons why you may have prescription drugs in your possession, as well as other defense strategies.
A common defense against prescription drug charges is the assertion that the defendant had a legitimate prescription for the drugs in question at the time of their arrest. If this is true, it can be easily proven with the presentation of medical documents and the testimony of a doctor.
Even if you did not have a prescription for the drugs in your case, there are many other defenses that can apply. Perhaps the drugs belonged to someone else, and you were “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Maybe another person tried to frame you for the crime. You could have been unknowingly participating in a drug operation in some way. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible so you can share the details of your situation and craft a strategy that is right for your case.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Lawyer
We are available to speak about your case and get started on building a plan for you. To access the best defense available, reach out to our legal team today.