Florida Prescription Drug Criminal Charges
Trying to find a walk-in pain clinic or a doctor who will increase or extend the prescription is often a medical necessity, not a crime. When facing aggressive prosecution for pain medication, you need an experienced drug attorney on your side. Contact the Florida Criminal Defense Firm of Slanick & Fuchs, P.A. today to speak with a prescription drug attorney.
Every year, millions of Americans fall victim to prescription drug abuse and addiction, especially to prescription painkillers and opioids such as Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Percocet and Fentanyl. Florida, unfortunately, is not an exception. While these prescription drugs can be used to treat pain from surgery or chronic ailment, they are extremely addictive.
To combat the opioid epidemic, law enforcement has been tough on prescription drug abuse, investigating and arresting individuals who have either abused the medication without a prescription. In fact, Florida has some of the toughest laws in the country outlawing the abuse of prescription medication.
In Florida, it is illegal for anyone to possess a prescription medication without a valid prescription from a medical professional. Many prescription medications are classified as controlled dangerous substances, or CDS. Prohibited substances that also fall into the CDS category include drugs such as cocaine and heroin. While prescription drugs are legal to possess with a valid prescription, abusing prescription drugs can lead to the similarly severe criminal punishments associated with street narcotics.
Florida Controlled Substance Schedules For Prescription Drugs
Florida classifies controlled dangerous substances into categories known as “schedules”. Controlled substances are classified not only by their potential to be abused, but also by their ability for drugs to be used for medical purposes. Most opioid prescription drugs are characterized as a Schedule II controlled substance.
Here is a breakdown of controlled substance schedules:
Schedule I: A schedule I substance has a high potential for abuse and has no medical application. Schedule I drugs include street narcotics such as cocaine, heroin and ecstasy.
Schedule II: A schedule II substance has a high potential for abuse but can be used for medical treatment in very limited situations. Schedule II substances are also characterized by a high likelihood of severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples of Schedule II drugs include OxyContin, Percocet, morphine and Demerol.
Schedule III: A Schedule III substance has less potential for abuse than the substances contained in Schedules I and II and is currently used as a medical treatment. The misuse of Schedule III substances may also lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Prescription drugs classified as a Schedule III substance include codeine, Vicodin, Suboxone and barbiturates.
Schedule IV and Schedule V: Schedule IV and Schedule V drugs have a lower potential for abuse, are currently accepted for medical treatment, and may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence.
Most prescription drugs that are abused often fall within schedules II and III. While some of these prescription drugs are considered more dangerous than others, they are all punished with similar severity.
Criminal Charges For Prescription Drug Abuse In Florida
Regardless of whether a prohibited substance has medical uses, all drug crimes are punished in Florida to the fullest extent of the law. Just like other prohibited narcotics, the unauthorized sale and use of prescription medication can lead to various criminal charges. Typically, criminal charges for prescription drug crimes include:
- Jail time with sentences ranging between several weeks up to 10 years in prison
- Probation in place of jail time or after a prison sentence has been served
- Fines that may stretch up to $100,000 or more
- License Suspension and drug classes
Criminal charges for prescription drugs are serious and can have a life-altering impact. If you have been charged with a crime for possession, abuse or sale of prescription drugs, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately. Together, you and your attorney will look at the facts of your case and create a strong defense to your prescription drug charges. In some cases, you may be eligible for participation in a diversion program, which can lead to your charges being dismissed upon completion.
Salnick & Fuchs has been representing individuals charged with drug crimes throughout Florida for more than two decades. If you have questions about your criminal charges, contact us today to speak with a West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney today about your case.