The abuse of prescription drugs has become a national epidemic. Although many states have addressed this important issue by increasing drug treatment programs as opposed to taking criminal measures, being convicted of a prescription drug crime in California results in harsh penalties.
The following are the most common types of prescription drug crimes in California:
- Possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription – State law prohibits the possession of any usable amount of a controlled substance that is not legally prescribed. Unlawful possession of prescription drugs is a misdemeanor, punishable by a county jail sentence of up to one year. However, if the defendant is eligible for a drug diversion program, they can avoid serving time behind bars.
- Use of a controlled substance – Without a valid prescription, it is against the law to use or become intoxicated by a prescribed medication. You are not allowed to take another individual's prescription drug or buy medication that is prescribed for another person. Conviction of this crime can result in a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum jail term of one year, but it is possible to serve probation or enroll in the drug diversion program instead.
- Possession for sale – Large quantities of narcotics, their packaging, large sums of cash, or a weighing scale are all indicators of possession for sale, rather than simple possession. If you possess of prescription drugs for the purpose of selling them, it is a felony offense and sentencing will depend on the amount of controlled substances in your possession.
- Sale or transportation – Typically involving a motor vehicle, it is a felony offense to sell, transport, import, give away, or furnish prescription drugs—even in small quantities. Additionally, this offense can elevate to a federal crime if you are accused of transporting a controlled substance across state lines.
- Forgery of a prescription drug – Forging, altering, issuing, or providing a forged prescription may be charged with this offense. While it can be charged as a misdemeanor, the crime can be elevated to a felony depending on the amount of prescription drugs obtained and other circumstances.
- Doctor shopping – Also known as prescription drug fraud, this occurs when a person visits multiple physicians to obtain multiple prescriptions, whether by visiting for a legitimate injury or making false statements about one. Prescription drug fraud can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
If you have been arrested for a prescription drug crime in Ventura County, our Ventura criminal defense attorney at Wilfert Law P.C. is ready to provide experienced help. We are committed to helping our clients get the best results and protecting their rights and future.
Contact us and schedule a free consultation for more information today.