Did you know that even if you have a prescription for a particular drug you can potentially be charged with a prescription drug crime in Illinois? There are, in fact, many different types of criminal acts associated with prescription drugs.
In today’s climate, with outrage and fear growing over the opioid epidemic and other prescription drug overdoses, there is a huge desire to crack down on violators. Because of this, it is vital that you understand what constitutes a prescription drug crime and how you can fight back against these types of charges.
How Illinois Prescription Drug Crimes Work
Under the Illinois Compiled Statutes, unlawfully manufacturing, distributing, or possessing controlled substances like prescription drugs are crimes that are punishable under the law. Punishments are given according to schedules based on the drugs’ propensity to cause addiction and their risks to overall health.
Most prescription drugs fall within Schedules 2 through 4. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include the following:
Examples of Illinois Prescription Drug Crimes
Unauthorized possession. If you possess any prescription drug without orders from your doctor, you could experience serious legal penalties – whether you have used the drug or not. For example, you could face up to three years in jail, up to 30 years in prison, and/or tens of thousands of dollars in fines, depending on the quantity and type of drug found in your possession.
Sharing. You may also face charges if you share a valid prescription with someone else. If a family member or friend uses your prescription and gets sick or dies from it, you could face charges.
Recreational distribution. Using prescription drugs for recreation or for relief of existential pain rather than physical pain is prohibited by Illinois law. Doctors can be charged for writing prescriptions other than for medical uses, or for quantities that exceed reasonable limits for a single patient. Nurses and hospital workers can be punished for acquiring drugs for others to use without a prescription.
Misrepresentation. If you misrepresent yourself to a doctor in order to receive a prescription, charges may apply. If you visit more than one doctor to get additional prescriptions, your acts may be prosecutable. You must advise your doctor of all the medications you are on, or you could be charged with fraud.
Here are specific examples of prescription drug fraud:
- Creating false prescriptions with computer software
- Forging prescriptions on a doctor’s notepad
- Changing prescription quantity on a doctor’s notepad
- Impersonating medical staff to request prescriptions via phone
To stay on the safe side, keep your prescriptions labeled with your name and locked up. If any dispute arises, you will have better proof of innocence with these methods. If the police find prescription drugs without a proper label in your vehicle, you can be arrested on charges of unlawful possession.
Fighting Prescription Drug Crime Charges in Illinois
Since the penalties for a prescription drug crime conviction are serious, you must consult with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer as soon as charges are filed against you.
No matter what kind of prescription drug charges you are facing, we can help you craft the strongest possible defense against them. We will review the facts of your case to protect your rights while we work to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
The most common defenses we can employ in prescription drug cases include:
- Unlawful search and seizure of prescription drugs
- Lack of criminal intent
- Good faith in patient testimony
You need the skilled help of an experienced Illinois criminal attorney who has successfully won cases like yours before. The sooner you call for a free case review, the faster we can get started on your case and find ways to get your charges reduced or dropped. For example, you may be eligible for alternative sentencing rather than jail time under certain circumstances.
Call today for your free, no-obligation consultation. We will work hard to defend against your prescription drug crime charges.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers, the National Trial Lawyers Association, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.