Prescription Drug Charges
Prescription drug offenses have become increasingly more common over the last decade as most of these medications have become more mainstream and readily prescribed by physicians. If you have been arrested or charged with possession of prescription drugs or prescription fraud you are facing serious penalties and it is in your best interests to hire a defense attorney. Because most prescription drugs are actually considered narcotics, possessing or attempting to possess these drugs without a valid prescription is usually a felony charge punishable by severe penalties such as prison time. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is comprised of seven criminal lawyers with over 100 years of combined experience. We constantly represent clients for prescription drug offenses and will work with the prosecutors to obtain your admittance into Pre-Trial Intervention, secure you probation or obtain a dismissal of the charges if the circumstances call for it. To speak with one of our lawyers today please call our Princeton office at (609) 683-8102 for a free initial consultation regarding your charges.Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drugs
A prescription legend drug is any drug which under Federal or State law can only be sold or dispensed only upon the prescription of a licensed medical practitioner (licensed physician, veterinarian or dentist). Therefore, by its nature, it is common for many forgery and attempt to obtain prescription drugs by fraud when individuals misrepresent their identity or fill out or change their own prescriptions. It is a fourth degree crime to obtain or attempt to obtain possession of a prescription legend drug by forgery or deception. It is also a fourth degree crime to knowingly possess, actually or constructively a prescription legend drug in an amount of five or more dosage units. Possession of four or fewer prescription dosages is a disorderly persons offense. You can also be charged with a disorderly persons offense for being under the influence of a prescription legend drug. The State need not prove which specific prescription drug the defendant used just that the defendant manifested symptoms or reactions caused by the use of prescription legend drugs. Click here for additional information concerning a charge for possession of a prescription drug.Distribution of Prescription Drugs or Medications
The degree of the prescription drug distribution crimes is graded by the amount of prescription dosages in the possession of the defendant. It is a second degree crime for a person to distribute or possess or have under her control with intent to distribute a prescription legend drug in an amount of 100 or more dosage units. A conviction of a second degree felony requires and mandatory prison term of 5 – 10 years for even if you have no prior record and a maximum fine for this offense is $300,000. Moreover, the state need not prove that the defendant had a purpose to obtain a pecuniary gain. It is a third degree crime for a person to distribute or possess or have under her control with intent to distribute a prescription legend drug in an amount of at 5 – 99 prescription dosage units. A conviction for third degree distribution and intent to distribute is punishable by 3 – 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000. It is a fourth degree crime for a person to distribute or possess with intent to distribute for pecuniary gain a prescription drug in an amount of four or fewer dosage units. Unlike the second and third degree crimes the state must prove that the defendant had a purpose to obtain a monetary gain from his actions. Lastly, it is a disorderly persons offense to distribute a prescription legend drug in an amount of four or fewer dosage units as long as it is not for monetary gain. You may refer to our prescription drug distribution page for a more detailed discussion.Defenses for Prescription Drugs Charges
It is a defense to any of these crimes except obtaining by deception or forgery that the drug or preparation was lawfully prescribed to you by a licensed medical practitioner. The burden of proving the valid prescription is on the defendant to produce evidence of the prescription. There are other defenses that your defense attorney can avail you to depending on the exact circumstances of your charge. For instance under the “de minimus” defense, a third degree distribution crime or can be considered for dismissal if the defendant proves three facts. First the conduct involved no more than six dosage units distributed within a 24 hour period. Secondly, the prescription legend drug was lawfully prescribed to the defendant by a licensed medical doctor. Lastly, that the defendant only intended for the prescription medications to be used by the people he gave them to for their personal needs. This same logic applies to disorderly persons offenses for possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription. Our attorneys can review the facts and circumstances of your case to strategize what defense fits best for your charges. Feel free to contact our office, conveniently located in Princeton, to discuss your case at absolutely no charge.