Fairfax Prescription Drug Offenses
There are really two kinds of prescription-drug offenses that can occur. One is the illegal possession and distribution of prescription drugs such as Oxycontin or any other opiate-based painkiller. A second and almost as prevalent charge in Fairfax is prescription-drug fraud, where a person is forging prescriptions from a legitimate physician to obtain opiate-based painkillers.
If you are accused of either of these offenses, it is absolutely important to have a Fairfax drug attorney present for your case. An attorney can help in many different ways, dependent on the facts and circumstances of your case. In cases where someone has been charged with possessing prescription drugs illegally, for example, an attorney may be able to show that the person had a legal prescription.
No matter how this charge occurs, consulting with an attorney is important due to the severity of these types of offenses.
How Courts Treat These Offenses
They are treated like every other kind of drug-possession case. However, there is some good news for people charged with prescription-drug fraud. They may be eligible to have the charge reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, provided they are willing to plead guilty to that charge and then go for some form of treatment associated with an addiction to those pills.
If the person agrees, they undergo treatment and are on probation with the court for a period of time, usually one or two years. At the conclusion of that period of time, if the person has done everything they are supposed to do then the case for prescription-drug fraud will be reduced to a simple misdemeanor conviction.
How These Crimes Are Charged
Prescription-drug crimes are charged in two different ways. One is where a person is in possession of drugs which were prescribed to someone else or that they cannot immediately establish were prescribed to them. Second is with prescription-drug fraud where the person forges a prescription for a narcotic drug and obtains them from a pharmacist.
Unique Aspects of Prescription Drug Offenses
The issue is that at one point in time those drugs were legal and were legally prescribed to someone. From the question becomes where these drugs came from and at what point in time did they become illegal? Once they are given to somebody who is not the originally-prescribed patient, then it becomes illegal.
That is what sets these drug offenses apart, because there are certain drugs like marijuana, heroin or cocaine, which in Virginia are always illegal. Just the simple existence of them is illegal. Prescription-drug cases are different because at one point the drugs were legal, but when given to somebody other than the original patient for whom they were prescribed, they become illegal.
Can You Still Be Charged If You Don’t Have Your Prescription on You?
Yes, you absolutely can be charged if you do not have the prescription on you. Many times, if they find a pill bottle which does not have your name on it or has no name on it, then they will simply charge you. Obviously the defense is to bring the actual prescription or your original pill box with you to court.
Defending Prescription Drug Cases
If you were originally prescribed the drug which you are accused of having, you need to know that telling that to the court is not going to be enough. You also need to be able to prove it, because without that proof almost every court and jury is just going to believe that it was in fact illegally obtained.
Having the original pill bottle with your name on it, the original prescription from your doctor, or having your doctor actually appear in court to testify that he did prescribe this drug to you is very important. This is unique to prescription-drug cases because there is no affirmative defense to possessing illegal drugs, but there is to possession of prescription drugs.