In Pennsylvania, people convicted of drug-related crimes rarely acquire standalone drug charges. They are oftentimes bombarded with several drug charges that elevate their sentences and stiffen their already harsh penalties. In order to deter the use, possession, and distribution of controlled substances, state authorities have criminalized most aspects and dealings involving illegal drugs.
Among these crimes is drug misbranding - an overlooked and potentially serious offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. For the purposes of this article, we will provide a brief overview of (1) what constitutes the offense of drug misbranding, and (2) the penalties associated with this offense.
Misbranding a controlled substance in Pennsylvania
In simple terms, misbranding a controlled substance is asserting that a drug is something that it is not. In Pennsylvania, perpetrators of this crime have been known to run operations - on both a massive and small scale - that is based on marketing mischaracterized controlled substances. An example of misbranding would be selling aspirin pills, but labeling them as Xanax, and pricing them as such to deceive consumers.
Providing false statements on a label or putting something in the ingredients list that isn't contained in the controlled substance is also considered misbranding. For example, a small action, like stating that a certain medication cures cancer, when it clearly does not can lead to criminal charges.
People accused of misbranding a controlled substance will be facing Pennsylvania's harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Whether this crime is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony will be dependent on the circumstances of a case.
A misdemeanor charge for misbranding a controlled substance will result in a penalty of a prison sentence for up to one year and a fine of up to $5,000. A felony conviction warrants penalties up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
As you can see, misbranding a controlled substance can lead to pretty harsh penalties. With your freedom at stake, it's important that you make the right steps towards avoiding a conviction of this crime. Your first response should be to contact an attorney. A skilled legal representative will be able to talk to the authorities and prosecutors on your behalf, analyze your case, and present your legal options that will be in your best interest. Having a dedicated and knowledgeable advocate that can help you confidently face eager prosecutors and inflexible laws will maximize the likelihood of your chances of a favorable outcome.
Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience representing clients who have acquired these charges, and other drug-related charges, and he's helped them prevail in court. He can do the same for you. Contact him today for assistance.