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Things to know about prescription drug charges

The abuse of prescription drugs has risen over the last few years. For this reason, lawmakers and law enforcement are cracking down on offenders.

For those facing prescription drug charges, understanding the procedure can assist in creating the best possible defense. There are a few things to consider.

Controlled substance classification

The medical intent of prescription drugs is to assist recipients with physical, mental and emotional ailments. However, these substances are still drugs and can have a negative impact when abused. In such cases, parties may receive criminal charges. While certain drugs may fall under both the prescription drug and controlled substance category, the purpose and amount play a large part in determining the status. In short, if a party does not have a valid prescription or if the amount of the drug is larger than prescribed, the medication may be classified as a controlled substance.

Schedule of drugs

The penalties defendants face for prescription drug charges greatly depend on the likelihood of the drug negatively affecting the recipient. This is measured by the schedule of controlled substances. The majority of prescription drugs fall under one of the five schedules of controlled substances, though a few do not. Drugs in schedules one and two are most dangerous and decrease as the schedules increase.

Key terms

Along with determined a controlled substance, a few additional terms are key in these particular cases. Possession not only accounts for a controlled substance on the defendant's person, but also any substance under the party's control. This may include a home, a vehicle, a storage locker or a variety of other locations. There is also a difference between intent to sell and trafficking charges. Trafficking involves law enforcement actually catching the party in the act of transporting the controlled substance, while law enforcement only has to show evidence to support the likelihood of the party selling the substance for an intent to sell charge.

While defending against prescription drug charges is not easy, it is possible. Understanding these key facts can aid in making educated decisions in regard to the best course of action.

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