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What are the penalties for a prescription drug crime?

If you are accused of a prescription drug crime, you could face serious penalties. However, there may be defenses available to you.

Prescription drug crimes

Prescription drug crimes can involve several types of illegal activity. If you obtain or distribute medications without a valid prescription, by selling them to others, for example, that is considered illegal possession and distribution.

Also, if you change the quantity or type of medication on the prescription, steal medication from a hospital or pharmacy, or visit several doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions you could face consequences. Patients are not allowed to have larger quantities of medication than would be normally prescribed by their healthcare provider.

It is also against the law to buy prescription medication from unlicensed online pharmacies and to illegally manufacture or produce them.

Penalties and potential defenses

The penalties for a prescription drug crime can vary depending on the quantity of drugs involved and the circumstances of the case. Generally, you could face fines, probation and prison time.

Fines can be thousands of dollars and a prison sentence can range from months to years. If you are granted probation, you will have to meet certain conditions set by the court.

There may be several defenses available. These include demonstrating that you had a valid prescription, either through the prescription itself or through medical records.

Also, if you can show that you did not intend to possess or distribute the drugs illegally, were subject to an illegal search and seizure by police, or that there were issues with evidence in the chain of custody, those may also be a defense.