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This common mistake could lead to prescription drug charges

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Criminal Defense

People in Virginia take prescription medication for many different reasons. Some people need medication because they suffer an injury and have pain until they heal. Other people require medication to help them sleep or manage their blood pressure. Prescription medications are only available to those who have a recommendation from a licensed physician. They also need to pick up the medication from an appropriate licensed pharmacy. Controlled substances are legal to possess and use when a patient complies with the instructions of a physician.

However, what a patient in lawful possession of a legitimate prescription does with their medication could still potentially violate Virginia drug statutes. For example, one common behavior among those with certain prescription drugs could potentially lead to their arrest and prosecution for a drug offense.

People cannot transfer their medication to others

A prescription medication does technically belong to the person with the medical recommendation. They likely paid for that prescription either through their insurance coverage or with their own resources. Just because they can legally possess the drug does not mean that they can do whatever they want with it. Their actions with their medication could violate Virginia law.

Someone with leftover medication after their condition improves might consider giving the remainder to their co-worker with a similar condition. They might even sell the medication to a neighbor. Regardless of whether someone makes money off of the transfer, it is illegal for someone without medical licensing to dispense controlled substances to another person. It does not matter if the person is a close friend or family member. The only person with the lawful right to possess that medication is the person who received the prescription for it.

If police officers catch someone in the act of transferring a drug, that could lead to charges for both parties involved. In scenarios where someone accidentally overdoses, causes a car crash or otherwise harms others after taking prescribed medication that they received from someone else, the person who supplied the medication might be at risk of criminal prosecution.

What seems like a kind or common-sense solution to those with leftover medication might eventually lead to their criminal prosecution. Understanding what seemingly innocent behaviors might lead to prescription drug charges can help people comply with state law. Those accused of breaking the law may need to look at their case carefully with the assistance of a skilled legal team to develop a viable defense strategy.

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Attorney Harvey S Lutins