If you have been Accused of Abusing Legal Drugs – Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
Prescription medications are only legal in the quantities and doses specified in a valid prescription, and only for the person the prescription was written for. This means that a person found in possession of prescription medication without a valid prescription can be charged with a crime. Drug crimes carry serious penalties, so if you are facing charges in Orange County, you should retain an experienced attorney as soon as possible to defend you. Contact us to speak with an Aliso Viejo defense attorney. To discuss your rights, and how to protect them, you can email Ms. Landry and her staff here. In addition, you can listen to, and or download, her OC, CA Criminal Defense Attorney podcast episodes by clicking here.
California Prescription Drug Offense Laws
California, like almost all states, has state laws governing most drug crimes. The CA Health and Safety Code section 11350 prohibits the possession of any usable amount of a controlled substance, including prescription drugs. Because prescription drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the country, law enforcement vigorously prosecutes drug offenses.
An individual may be criminally charged for the following offenses related to prescription drugs:
- Possessing prescription drugs without a valid prescription
- Forging a prescription
- Obtaining drugs by fraud
- Selling prescription drugs
- Doctor shopping (going to multiple doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions)
- Driving under the influence of prescription drugs
The Controlled Substances Act
The federal government classifies all drugs by Schedule according to their dangerousness and potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are considered highly addictive substances with no medical use (prescription drugs do not fall into this category), while Schedule V drugs are considered to have the lowest risk of abuse.
The exact charge and penalties an individual may face depends on the type of drug and the quantity involved:
- Schedule II – Hydromorphone (Dilaudid), methadone (Dolophine), meperidine (Demerol), fentanyl, oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
- Schedule III – Hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, buprenophrine (Suboxone).
- Schedule IV – Sleep aids, Rohypnol, lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), clorazepate (Tanxene), clonazepam, (Klonopin), carisoprodol (Soma), alprazolam (Xanax)
- Schedule V – Cough medicines containing codeine
Prop 47’s Impact on Drug Charges
After the passage of Proposition 47 in California, certain drug crimes have been downgraded to misdemeanors and are punishable by up to one year in county jail. However, drug offenders may be able to avoid jail altogether if they qualify for a drug diversion program, which includes counseling and drug education. Those who have been convicted of a violent crime or who are registered sex offenders will not be eligible for this option and will face increased penalties.
Other collateral consequences of a drug conviction include expensive fines, a permanent criminal record, and difficulty obtaining housing, loans, or professional licenses/certifications. With so much at stake, you need to take immediate action to protect yourself and your future.
If you have been arrested for possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell, or another crime related to the unlawful use of prescription drugs, contact an Orange County criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry. Our firm has been vigorously defending individuals accused of drug crimes since 1989. Backed by a history of success and an unwavering commitment to our clients, our firm is one of the most respected criminal defense firms in Orange County. We encourage you to contact us to schedule a free and confidential evaluation of your case.