Detroit Prescription Drug Lawyer
There’s a rising tide of prescription drug addiction and abuse in the United States, and lawmakers at both the federal level and state level in Michigan are cracking down on the illegal use, possession, and trafficking of prescription drugs. Commonly abused prescription drugs include narcotic pain medicines, stimulants, and depressants, including OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, Demerol, Ritalin, Adderall, Valium, and Xanax. If you have been charged, a Detroit drug lawyer may be able to help.
Michigan has criminalized a number of offenses related to illegally obtaining prescription drugs or prescription pads, or trafficking in prescription pads or counterfeit prescription pads. When you’re convicted of one of these offenses, the consequences can be serious. Many are felony crimes with lengthy prison sentences and expensive fines. Other negative effects on your life may include:
- Loss of your professional license if you work as a pharmacist, pharmacy assistant, doctor, nurse, lawyer, or teacher
- Loss of your driver’s license
- A permanent criminal record that can affect your ability to get or keep a job
- Effects on your immigration status if you’re a non-U.S. citizen, including loss of your visa or green card, denial of citizenship, or deportation
- Loss of eligibility for federal financial aid for college
A criminal charge involving prescription drugs or prescription forms is a serious legal matter and it’s recommended that you seek help from an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer who can fight for you in court and work aggressively to protect your rights.
It’s also important to consult an attorney about your prescription drug charge because of a recent change with regard to criminal sentences in Michigan. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that judges, and not the state Legislature, should have the authority to decide sentences. That means judges are no longer bound to the sentencing ranges set in Michigan statutes. A Michigan criminal defense attorney can explain how that might affect the outcome of your charge.
Possession of a Prescription Form
It’s a crime in Michigan to knowingly or intentionally possess a prescription form unless it was lawfully provided to you by a medical practitioner in the course of his or her practice. Possession of a prescription form is a misdemeanor offense and can by punished with up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 under Section 333.7403 of the Michigan Public Health Code.
Possession of a Counterfeit Prescription Form
Section 333.7407 makes it a felony to knowingly or intentionally be in possession of a counterfeit prescription form. The possible punishment includes up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.
Section 333.7403a makes it a felony crime in Michigan to obtain a drug prescription from a medical provider through the use of fraud. The possible penalty for fraudulently obtaining a prescription is up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Trafficking in Prescription Forms or Counterfeit Prescription Forms
Under Section 333. 7401 of the Michigan Public Health Code, it’s a crime to create, manufacture, deliver, or possess with the intent to deliver a prescription form or counterfeit prescription form. Essentially, these are actions that make up trafficking in prescription forms, and they may result in a felony charge. The penalties for conviction include a prison sentence of up to 7 years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Alternative Sentencing for a Prescription Drug Charge
Under some circumstances, when you’re charged with an offense related to a prescription drug or a prescription pad, your Michigan defense lawyer may be able to convince a judge that you should be allowed to complete an alternative sentencing program instead of going to jail. A judge is more likely to agree when the offense is relatively minor, or when your offense was driven by an addiction that might better be handled with an order for substance abuse treatment than by a jail sentence.
Some possible alternatives to jail may include:
- Substance abuse treatment
- A one-time deferred sentence that allows you to keep the prescription drug charge off of your criminal record if you meet conditions of the deferral
- Delay of your sentencing that may allow you to avoid going to jail if you meet conditions of the delay, but that allows the prescription drug charge to stay on your record
A qualified Detroit prescription drug lawyer who knows the court where your case is pending can review the specifics of your charge and explain whether one of these alternatives might be an option in your case.
A Detroit Prescription Drug Lawyer for Your Charges
When you or a family member is charged with a prescription drug offense in Michigan, it’s natural to feel anxious about what might happen and to have questions about the charge and the process. An experienced Detroit drug crimes lawyer can step in and help from the time of the initial arrest, protect the rights of you or your family member, and explain the possible outcomes through every step of the criminal justice process.
A good Michigan criminal defense lawyer also will have knowledge of the local courts and how they handle prescription drug charges — and the likelihood of success if you try to fight the charge or want to try for an alternative sentence such as substance abuse treatment. If you want to fight the charge, your lawyer can explain what options might be viable in your case. Some common defense arguments in prescription drug cases may include:
- You didn’t know you illegally possessed a prescription form
- You didn’t know a prescription form was counterfeit
- You didn’t intend to illegally possess a prescription form
- You didn’t intend to use fraud to obtain a prescription
- You didn’t intend to traffic a prescription form or counterfeit prescription form
- Police obtained evidence against you illegally without using a search warrant
- Police obtained evidence against you through use of an invalid search warrant
- Police used illegal surveillance or wiretapping to obtain evidence against you
- Police violated your rights when you were arrested or questioned