Penalties in Prescription Drug Crime Cases

Phoenix Lawyer Helping People Facing Narcotics Charges

Prescription drugs, whether obtained legally or illegally, can result in abuse or addiction. Accordingly, Arizona prosecutors treat prescription drug crimes seriously. State law prohibits persons from wrongfully possessing or consuming prescription drugs, which can only be legally obtained through proper channels. Because penalties in prescription drug crime cases may be severe, you should consult with Phoenix drug crime attorney James E. Novak if you have been charged with a prescription drug crime. Mr. Novak is a former prosecutor who may be able to represent you and mount an aggressive defense using insights gleaned from his prior work as a prosecutor.

Penalties in Prescription Drug Crime Cases

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) section 3-3406 prohibits persons from (1) knowingly, (2) possessing or using a prescription drug, unless obtained through a valid prescription of a licensed prescriber. It also criminalizes possessing a prescription drug for sale; possessing chemicals or equipment; manufacturing a prescription drug; administering a prescription drug to someone whose possession or use of a prescription drug violates the code section; obtaining or procuring administration of a prescription drug through subterfuge, misrepresentation, deceit or fraud; transferring a prescription drug whether through sale or another method; using or possessing a misbranded drug; or manufacturing or selling or distributing a misbranded drug.

The penalties for prescription drug crimes are distinct from those imposed for dangerous drugs, narcotics, and marijuana. With dangerous drugs and other recreational or street drugs, you will be presumed to have an intent to sell if you’re caught with any amount of the substance over a threshold amount. The amount of a prescription drug an individual is permitted to possess varies, depending on the doctor and the reasons for the prescription.

Most of the prescription drug crimes prohibited under section 3-3406 are class 1 misdemeanors. Generally, the sentence for a class 1 misdemeanor is 6 months of incarceration. However, in most cases, a first offender will not need to serve prison time, but will instead face fines, probation, community service and a requirement to attend drug addiction treatment programs,. Possessing or using a misbranded drug is a class 2 misdemeanor. You can face 4 months of incarceration for a class 2 misdemeanor.

Possessing a Prescription Drug For Sale

Possessing a prescription drug for sale is a class 6 felony. The presumptive term for a class 6 felony is 1 year. The minimum term is a ½ year and the maximum term is 1½ years. Mitigating circumstances can bring the term down to a ⅓ of a year, while aggravating circumstances can bring it up to 2 years.

You may be required to submit to drug testing as a condition of your probation after a felony prescription drug crime conviction. Furthermore, if you’re convicted of possessing a prescription drug for sale or selling or offering to sell a prescription drug, and you’re granted probation, it will be a condition of probation that you do at least 240 hours of community restitution with an alcohol or drug abuse treatment agency. A criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix can review the details of your case to determine the sentencing range you are facing.

Manufacturing, Selling or Distributing a Misbranded Drug

Manufacturing, selling, or distributing a misbranded drug is a class 4 felony. The presumptive term for a class 4 felony is 2½ years. The minimum is 1½ years and the maximum is 3 years. However, mitigating and aggravating circumstances can result in a lengthier or shorter sentence.

If you are guilty of possessing prescription drugs for sale or transport, you can be charged with a class 6 felony. You may be required to perform 240 hours of community service. You may also face a fine of $1,000.

Repeat Offenders

If you are a repeat offender charged with a prescription drug crime, you will likely face prison time, not only community service, as well as probation and mandatory substance abuse treatment. You will likely need to submit to mandatory drug testing.

Consult a Seasoned Drug Crime Attorney in Phoenix

If you’re concerned about the penalties in prescription drug crime cases, you should talk to an experienced drug crime lawyer. Our principal James E. Novak has many years of experience defending people charged with drug crimes in the Phoenix area including in Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, and Mesa, as well as throughout Maricopa County. Call him at (480) 413-1499 or contact him through our online form.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation
(840) 413-1499