Since 1999, drug overdoses have killed about 800,000 Americans. That fatality rate makes poisoning one of the leading causes of injury-related death in the United States. Many of these fatalities are directly related to prescription drugs, mostly painkillers. Other fatalities are indirectly related to prescription drugs. Many heroin users first became addicted to opioid painkillers.
Because of these numbers, authorities very aggressively arrest people and prosecute them for various prescription drug crimes. A good Weatherford criminal defense attorney should be prepared for any of them, as many arrests involve multiple charges.
If the defendant has no criminal record, pretrial diversion may be available. In other situations, a factual or legal defense may be available at trial.
Unless the defendant has a valid prescription, it is illegal to possess most prescription drugs. Nearly all these medicines are on the controlled substances list. Even one or two pills could be a felony. Legally, possession charges often do not hold up in court, because the state lacks sufficient evidence on all three elements (proximity, knowledge, and control).
Selling pain pills is illegal. Exchanges are illegal as well (e.g. “If you give me your leftover Oxycontin I’ll take you to lunch”). Giving a pill to a friend or co-worker is probably illegal as well. Lack of evidence may be a defense to distribution charges. Witnesses must testify as to specific things in court, and after many months, their memories often fade.
This rarely-charged crime is a combination of possession and distribution. If officers find a large stash of prescription drugs, or additional circumstantial evidence like baggies or cash, distribution or trafficking charges may hold up in court. These crimes are not charged very often in this area because few people have trunkloads of Percocet. Moreover, these cases often involve unreasonable searches and seizures.
The prevalence of cutting-edge laser printers and other devices have caused forgery crimes to skyrocket. It is relatively easy for many people to create fake prescription drug labels which alter the patient’s name, number of refills, dosage instructions, or other information. Prescription forgery, which could be writing a fake prescription or impersonating a doctor’s office, is rather common as well. These offenses often involve medical or pharmacy records. These records are not always admissible in court.
Prescription drug fraud is also known as doctor-shopping. This offense has a lot of moving parts. Normally, the state must prove that Doctor A said the defendant was a drug-seeker and the defendant then went to Doctor B and asked for an opioid prescription. That complexity deters many Parker County prosecutors from pursuing charges, especially if the defendant had clear signs of addiction.
Prescription drug crimes, especially possession, are common in Texas. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. We routinely handle matters in Parker County and nearby jurisdictions.