DC Prescription Drug Penalties

In Washington, DC, prescription drugs are considered to be controlled substances in the same way that cocaine or heroin or other types of inherently illegal drugs are considered to be controlled substances. The difference is that prescription drugs are considered to have certain medical benefits where possession is considered legal with a valid prescription. Speak with a distinguished local lawyer today about the enforcement of DC prescription drug offenses and what you can do to fight any charges against you.

Seriousness of the Charge

When a person has a valid prescription to possess certain kinds of controlled substances, their possession cannot be prosecuted as a criminal offense in DC. For example, OxyContin is a controlled substance in Washington, DC. Because OxyContin is understood to have a valid medical use as a painkiller that is prescribed to people post-surgery or for any other valid medical reasons, a person can obtain a prescription to possess OxyContin.

On the other hand, if a person is arrested on allegations that they were in possession of some kind of prescription drug without having a valid prescription for that drug, they can be prosecuted for the possession of the prescription drug in the same way a person can be prosecuted for the possession of an inherently illegal controlled substance such as cocaine. In this case, it is especially helpful to work with a skilled attorney, as the enforcement of DC prescription drug offenses is significant.

Potential Penalties

These possession offenses are considered to be misdemeanor offenses in Washington, DC. A person faces up to 180 days in jail for the possession of a prescription drug without having a valid prescription. The same applies for possession of a prescription drug with the intent to distribute it or the actual distribution of the prescription drug.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Without a valid license to distribute the prescription drug, a person charged with possession with intent to distribute or distribution can be charged with a felony-level offense. That is the same type of felony offense a person faces for possession with intent to distribute or actual distribution of an inherently illegal drug like heroin or cocaine. At the felony level, the enforcement of DC prescription drug offenses is elevated significantly.

The only difference in the way prescription drugs are treated from the way inherently illegal drugs are treated is that in some situations, the possession of those drugs can be legal due to a valid medical reason with the proper prescription or the proper licenses.

The only difference in the way prescription drugs are treated from the way inherently illegal drugs are treated is that in some situations, the possession of those drugs can be legal due to a valid medical reason with the proper prescription or the proper licenses.

Legality of Traveling without a Prescription

It is completely lawful for a person to be in possession of a prescription drug when that person has a valid prescription. An expired prescription does not permit a person to be in possession of a prescription drug. Therefore, at the moment a prescription expires, the possession of that prescription is no longer considered to be lawful.

Sometimes people are arrested on allegations of possession of prescription drugs simply because they do not have their prescription on them at the time of the arrest. There is no legal requirement that says a person must have a prescription on them at all times.

How an Attorney Can Help Build a Defense

If a person is arrested on allegations that they possessed a certain prescription drug without having a valid prescription, it is a defense that the person had a valid prescription that they did not have on them at the time. When a person finds themselves in that situation, it is important to make sure that their defense lawyer has access to all of their medical records and prescription information to discuss the dismissal of those charges with the prosecutor. Using this information, the lawyer will be well equipped to prepare and deliver the most effective defense available when it comes to challenging the state’s enforcement of DC prescription drug offenses.