Prescription Drug Charges

One of the major drug issues on the rise in Pennsylvania today is the illegal possession and distribution of prescription drugs. These drugs are usually in Pennsylvania's Drug Schedules III, IV & V, though some prescription drugs are in Schedule II.

Proponents of the War on Drugs are aware of this increase and are cracking down hard on drug charges involving prescription drugs in Philadelphia. Whether you are a victim of addiction or falsely accused of a Pennsylvania prescription drug charge by an overzealous law enforcement officer, it is important to secure the services of an experienced Philadelphia drug defense lawyer as soon as possible following the first signs of investigation or an arrest.

Philadelphia Prescription Drug Charge Attorney

Joseph Lento of Lento Law Firm has years of experience defending individuals accused of illegal drug possession. He is committed to a high level of customer service, determination and perseverance with his criminal defense clients when they need it the most.

If you have been charged with illegal prescription drug possession or a prescription drug trafficking offense in Philadelphia, contact the attorneys of Lento Law Firm. We will fight for your rights and examine your case in detail for mitigating factors, resulting in a defense well-suited specifically for your case. Your first consultation is free, so call (215) 535-5353 today.

Philadelphia Prescription Drug Charge Information Center

Common Prescription Drugs Abused in Philadelphia

The most common prescription drugs involved in Philadelphia drug charges generally start as having a medical purpose of easing pain, treating ADHD, or neutralizing anxiety. Patients then become addicted and need more and more pills to achieve the desired effect, even after the legal prescription is gone.

This leads them to seek other ways to feed their addiction, such as drug dealers or doctor shopping. Additionally, some patients may not have an addiction, but have leftover pills and decide to help a friend or earn some fast cash. The most common prescription drugs obtained and sold illegally in Philadelphia include:

  • Vicodin or any other form of Hydrocodone
  • Oxycontin or any other form of oxymorphone
  • Codeine
  • Valium or any other form of diazepam
  • Morphine
  • Xanax or any other form of alprazolam
  • Demerol or any other form of meperidine
  • Adderall or any other form of amphetamines

Pennsylvania Illegal Possession of Prescription Drugs

The illegal possession of prescription drugs is defined with the rest of Pennsylvania's controlled substances in the Pennsylvania Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act, which is 35 P.S. §§ 780-101 – 780-144. There is no separate classification for prescription drugs, though there are separate penalties for specific drugs that have an occasional medical use.

Generally, illegal possession is obtained through some sort of prescription fraud, which is specifically outlawed in Pennsylvania's drug act in the language that states no person shall obtain a controlled substance "by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge." This includes actions like:

  • Doctor shopping
  • Stealing a physician's legitimate prescription pad
  • Altering a physician's legitimate prescription
  • Creating a fake prescription on the computer
  • Making yourself a doctor contact for refill call-ins

Possession is the act of actual possession, which is having the prescription drug on your person or in a container on your person, or the act of constructive possession, which means you were aware of the presence and illegality of the substance and had the ability and intent to take control of the prescription drug. Illegal prescription drug possession in Philadelphia for drugs like Vicodin and Oxycontin is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. Subsequent convictions are as follows:

  • Up to 2 years in prison for a second offense of illegal prescription drug possession
  • Up to 3 years in prison for a third offense of illegal prescription drug possession

Illegal possession of a narcotic Schedule II prescription substance or gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), which has a limited medical application to start with, is a felony punishable up to 15 years and a $250,000 fine. If you are charged with any illegal possession of prescription drug offense, contact an experienced Philadelphia controlled substance possession defense lawyer immediately. He may be able to find mitigating factors to help your case, such as actual or constructive possession charges or a valid prescription.

Possession of Prescription Drugs with Intent to Deliver in Philadelphia

A possession with intent to deliver prescription drugs charge in Philadelphia is a charge added to possession when law enforcement suspects you to be delivering or otherwise trafficking the drug, but didn't catch you in the actual act. Some factors that may cause a possession with intent to deliver charge include:

  • The amount of the drug
  • How the drug is packaged
  • Your location at time of arrest
  • Observed behavior at time of arrest

The term deliver is defined in the Pennsylvania Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act as the actual, constructed, or attempted transfer of a controlled substance from one person to another. The definition does not specify profit or nonprofit, so a PWID charge could occur if intent to sell was present, or if intent to share was present.

Because a PWID charge is a separate offense from possession, an overzealous prosecutor passionate about the War on Drugs may try to bring PWID even if there is not sufficient evidence. An experienced Philadelphia drug defense attorney can spot this strategy and fight for your rights while bringing the cracks in the prosecutor's case to light.

Prescription Drug Trafficking in Pennsylvania

Drug trafficking is generally defined as the illegal sale or transfer of a controlled substance from one person to another. This term can apply both to an individual sale and to the drug trade as a whole. Whether you have been accused of one personal sale, participation in a Philadelphia drug ring, or other involvement in the big picture of drug trade in Pennsylvania, drug trafficking is the offense you will be charged with.

The following are the drug trafficking offenses in Pennsylvania and their related penalties:

Drug Trafficking – 2-10 Grams of Narcotics

  • Aggregate wait of compound or mixture prohibited in Schedule I or II is 2-10 grams
  • First offense
    • Up to two years of prison
    • Up to $5,000 fine, or more if needed to cover trafficking proceeds
  • Subsequent offense
    • Three-year mandatory maximum jail time
    • Up to $10,000 fine, or more if needed to cover trafficking proceeds

Drug Trafficking – 10-100 Grams of Narcotics

  • Aggregate wait of compound or mixture prohibited in Schedule I or II is 10-100 grams
  • First offense
    • Up to three years of prison
    • Up to $15,000 fine, or more if needed to cover trafficking proceeds
  • Subsequent offense
    • Five-year mandatory maximum jail time
    • Up to $30,000 fine, or more if needed to cover trafficking proceeds

Drug Trafficking – 100 Grams or More of Narcotics

  • Aggregate wait of compound or mixture prohibited in Schedule I or II is at least 100 grams
  • First offense
    • At least five years of prison
    • Up to $25,000 fine, or more if needed to cover trafficking proceeds
  • Subsequent offense
    • Seven-year mandatory maximum jail time
    • Up to $50,000 fine, or more if needed to cover trafficking proceeds

Finding the Best Prescription Drug Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia

Whether you were in the wrong place at the wrong time or suffer from an addiction to prescription medication that originated in a legal prescription, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight the Pennsylvania prescription drugs against you.

Joseph Lento will work closely with you to find mitigating factors that may get your case reduced or dismissed, or bring you a brighter future through helping you apply for Pennsylvania's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. To find out what Lento Law Firm can do for your prescription drug case, call (215) 535-5353 to schedule your free consultation today.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, or New Jersey should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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