Fredericksburg Prescription Drug Lawyer 

The abuse of prescription drugs has become widespread. Individuals may initially be prescribed something, with the hopes of alleviating stress or pain, and then develop an unhealthy dependence on that prescription drug. Despite their medicinal value, when abused for recreational purposes, prescription drugs can be equally dangerous to one’s health.

As a result, illegal prescription drug possession can have consequences on par with those a person would face if they were caught with a non-prescription drug. That is why the counsel of a Fredericksburg prescription drug lawyer, can be invaluable. A qualified attorney can take into consideration all of the evidence and any potential mitigating factors when building your case.

Seriousness of Offenses

Prescription drugs are charged like any Schedule I or Schedule II substance. Charges for prescription drug offenses vary depending on what the prescription drug is. Xanax, Percocet, Oxycontin, and codeine are among the more common prescription drugs that are bought and sold illegally. Many prescription drugs share the same schedule as non-prescription drugs like heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.

Charges are decided based on the schedule of the drug in question, so a prescription drug offense can be treated the same by the courts as a crime involving other drugs of the same classification. Oftentimes, prescription drug charges arise from arrests or investigations involving other drugs. A person might be under investigation for possessing heroin, and then, in some search incident to arrest or serving a search warrant, the police end up finding prescription drugs that the person is not supposed to have.

A person could be arrested for having prescription drugs if they do not have a prescription on them. The threshold of probable cause to arrest is very low, so a person can be arrested even if they have a prescription, but it is in the wrong bottle or not in a bottle at all. They may not be convicted, but they could certainly be arrested. If a person wants to avoid being charged for unlawful prescription drug possession, they should make sure that it is kept in the bottle that it is supposed to be in.

What a Defendant Should Do

No matter the circumstances, it is important for a person who has been arrested on suspicion of a prescription drug offense not to say anything to the police. The police ask questions because they are trying to build a case against the arrested person, and that person is under no obligation to help them.

Rather than say anything to the police, it’s wise for a person to ask to speak to a lawyer the moment they are arrested. With prescription drug cases, knowledge is an important element: who knew what, when, where and how. The less the police know, and the better the accused person protects their own knowledge, the better chance that person has to have the case dismissed.

How Courts Treat Prescription Cases

Oftentimes, prescription drug charges are not treated as harshly as those involving street-level narcotics. However, each case is different. A person who is charged with possessing a small amount of Vicodin or Adderall will be charged differently than someone who is arrested for selling prescription drugs.

Police do not have field tests for prescription drugs, so they will usually do a stop, a search, and a seizure. A Fredericksburg prescription drug lawyer representing a client charged with unlawful possession of a prescription drug will often challenge the methods the police used during the search and seizure, as well as other evidence such as laboratory test results and witness testimony.

Prescriptions and Other Drug Offenses

The easiest way for a case to be dismissed is if the person charged has a valid prescription. When that is not the case, that person’s knowledge of what the drug was, and that they were in possession of it illegally, can make a big difference.

Unless one is a pharmacist or somebody who uses these different drugs all the time, an individual often cannot look at a pill and know what it is. Even the prosecution will send pills for laboratory analysis to determine what they are.

It is the Commonwealth’s burden to prove that the medication in question was, in fact, Adderall or Xanax, for example, and that the individual actually knew that when they were possessing it. It can be hard for the prosecution to prove that the accused person knew they were in possession of a controlled substance, and many cases have been won in which the defendant did not know what they were in possession of.

If an individual can show proof of their prescription, they should be okay. Keeping a prescription drug in its bottle, or having a copy of the prescription on-hand, will often keep a person from being charged with unlawful possession. If a person is charged and can subsequently show the court that they had a valid prescription for the medication, the judge will usually dismiss the case. A Fredericksburg prescription drug lawyer is capable of advocating for the individual and can work with them to get the case dismissed.

Benefit of an Attorney

An individual charged with a prescription drug crime should seek counsel from a Fredericksburg prescription drug lawyer who understands the elements of every offense, who knows exactly what is going on in that particular jurisdiction, knows the jury pool, knows how the judges operate and can use their experience to convince a judge or jury to decide their client’s case favorably.

A skilled criminal defense attorney will work to find out exactly what’s happening with the case, including what evidence the prosecution has, and what the defendant and any witnesses have said to investigators. By understanding every element of the crime, they can develop a defense strategy that will put their client in the best possible position for the case.