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Drug crimes are usually associated with illegal substances such as heroin or cocaine. However, prescription drug abuse has also become a serious problem in the United States. A conviction for illegal possession, sale, or distribution of a prescription can have a devastating impact on all aspects of your life. If you’ve been charged with a crime, a drug defense lawyer can help you understand prescription drug laws in PA and any potential penalties you may face.

Drugs That Are Illegal Without a Prescription in PA

With the exception of steroids, most prescription drugs that are illegally sold or possessed are used for conditions such as anxiety, pain, sleep disorders, and behavioral disorders like ADHD.

Both federal and state laws prohibit the unauthorized possession of certain prescription drugs, including:

  • Benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan
  • Narcotics such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Demerol, Morphine, Codeine, and Tramadol
  • Amphetamines such as Adderall and Ritalin
  • Sleeping pills such as Ambien and Lunesta
  • Anabolic steroids such as Winstrol and Equipoise

Prescription Drug Crimes in Pennsylvania

Prescription drug crime charges vary depending on the type of drug, the amount in your possession, whether you intended to distribute it, and prior criminal history. This includes obtaining drugs through fraudulent means such as altering a prescription, stealing a physician’s prescription pad or forging his or her signature, and using someone else’s prescription.

Some examples of prescription drug crimes and their penalties under Pennsylvania laws include:

Simple Possession

If you purchase or obtain prescription drugs from another person illegally, you may be charged with simple possession, which is usually a misdemeanor. Penalties can include prison time, driver’s license suspension, and up to $25,000 in fines depending on whether you have previous drug crime convictions.

Possession with Intent to Deliver

Although many people think that anyone charged with intent to deliver must possess and sell a large quantity of drugs, this is not always the case. In Pennsylvania, even if you simply give a friend a pill you were prescribed, you may be charged with a felony prescription drug crime that could result in up to 15 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. If you are charged with possession with intent to deliver or distribute within a school zone, penalties may be harsher.

Other Prescription Drug Crimes

Doctors, pharmacists, and other health care professionals may face criminal charges for illegally selling or distributing prescription drugs. Other felony charges include unlawful manufacturing of prescription drugs and prescription drug trafficking which are very serious crimes that come with severe penalties.

It’s also possible to be charged with a DUI if you have any amount of certain prescription drugs in your system, even if you have a valid prescription. In this case, it’s critical to find an experienced drug DUI defense attorney who understands how to defend this type of charge.

If you’re facing prescription drug charges in Pennsylvania, our criminal justice lawyers can safeguard your rights and ensure you receive the best defense possible.