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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
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What should you know about first-time prescription drug crimes?

Although many people need prescription drugs on a daily basis, these drugs can sometimes be addictive and lead to drug abuse. There are criminal penalties for prescription drug abuse. Things like shopping doctors to obtain extra prescriptions, selling narcotics and possessing prescriptions that are not your own are all criminal acts.

What are some penalties for first-time prescription drug offenders?

First-time offenders most likely face a misdemeanor. Prescription drugs are typically defined as controlled substances by law, so it's illegal to use them in ways other than how they're prescribed. The penalties usually mirror the penalties for illegal drugs of other kinds.

It would not be uncommon for a first-time conviction to lead to a fine of up to $1,000 and potentially a jail term of up to a year. It's possible that you may be able to work out a plea for community service or a reduced prison sentence.

Where will you face trial for a drug crime?

Most states now have specialized courts for drug abuse crimes, known loosely as drug courts. The courts themselves deal only with possession, abuse and addiction to drugs of any type. In these courts, the goal often is to help those with drug addiction concerns get the medical help needed instead of sending them to jail or prison. For instance, if you are not violent and are a first-time offender, you may be able to work out a plan where you can get into a drug addiction treatment program instead of going to prison or paying heavy fines for your crimes. This is worth discussing with your attorney, particularly in cases where your crime was not harmful to others.

Source: FindLaw, "Criminal Penalties for Prescription Drug Abuse," accessed June 02, 2016

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