Prescription Drug Crimes in NC
Raleigh Prescription Drug Attorney
With prescription drug crimes rates rising, many states have enacted strict laws regarding their possession and distribution. North Carolina is no exception, and if you are charged with a prescription drug crime, you face the possibility of jail time, steep fines, and a mark on your criminal background.
The experienced attorneys at Clifford Law Group have defended hundreds of clients against prescription drug charges. With an aggressive defense, we can defend your future against the ramifications of either a misdemeanor or felony charge. Our team of North Carolina drug crime lawyers will go the extra mile to seek out a positive resolution for you.
Those facing prescription drug offenses such as possession, doctor-shopping, distribution, or fraud can take steps to protect their future. Our attorneys can fight against these charges in Wake County, Durham County, Orange County, and the surrounding areas.
Call us today at Clifford Law Group to schedule your free consultation.
If you are facing a complex legal matter, it is vital that you retain the immediate representation of Clifford Law Group. The right attorney may make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Make the smart choice – enlist the supportive assistance of our Raleigh natives today.
Types of Prescription Drugs
Under North Carolina law, drugs are classified according to "schedules". The penalties for possessing or distributing these substances increase depending on the schedule it is categorized in.
Schedule I Drugs – These drugs have no accepted medical use and a high potential for substance abuse. Examples of this type of drug include heroin, LSD, Ecstasy, and peyote. There are no prescription Schedule I drugs.
Schedule II Drugs – These substances have a high potential for abuse and dependency.
Examples of these are oxycodone, morphine, opium, codeine, amphetamine, and hydromorphone.
Schedule III Drugs – These have less potential for abuse than schedule I or II substances,
but they have a moderate potential for physical dependency and a high
probability of psychological dependency.
Examples include: combined products with less than 15 grams of hydrocodone such as Vicodin, products with less than 90 milligrams of codeine such as Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids and benzphetamine.
Schedule IV Drugs – These drugs have less potential for abuse than Schedule III substances.
Examples of this type include Xanax, lorazepam, diazepam (Valium), and carisoprodol.
Schedule V Drugs – These substances have a relatively low potential for abuse and
Some examples are cough drops containing less than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters and ezogabine.
Additionally, North Carolina law has a Schedule VI that includes only marijuana and related products. Medical marijuana is not legal in North Carolina.
Illegal Possession of Prescription Drugs
North Carolina's criminal statutes discuss the laws regarding controlled substances in § 90-95. According to these laws, it is illegal to possess a controlled substance. The penalties for violating this law vary widely depending on which drug was in possession, what amount, and if the individual has any prior convictions. As a general rule, however, possession of illegal substances in North Carolina is categorized as follows:
Schedule I Drugs – This violation is classified as a Class I felony, unless the substance is MDPV in less than 1 gram, in which case it will be a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Schedule II, III, IV Drugs – These violations are considered Class 1 misdemeanors, with some exceptions being considered Class I felonies.
Schedule V Drugs– Illegally possessing these substances is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Schedule VI Drugs – These drugs carry a Class 3 misdemeanor charge.
Is It Illegal to Carry Prescription Drugs Without the Bottle?
It is illegal to possess a controlled substance without a valid prescription. This means if you carry prescription medication outside its original container and are stopped by law enforcement, you could be arrested. However, a conviction is unlikely if you are able to provide proof of your valid prescription.
Manufacturing or Distributing Prescription Drugs
According to N.C.G.S. § 90-95, it is also illegal to "manufacture, sell or deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver, a controlled substance". The penalties for creating or selling prescription drugs are much steeper than simple possession. Those involved in "pill mill" schemes face these consequences, and with an increase in their frequency, law enforcement has become more diligent in tracking down offenders. The classification of these offenses is as follows:
Schedule I and II Substances – The manufacture of these drugs is classified as a Class H felony, while the sale of them is considered a Class G felony. The exception to this is the manufacture of methamphetamine, which is a Class C felony. However, packaging it or labeling it is considered a Class H felony.
Schedule III, IV, V, and VI – The manufacture of these is considered a Class I felony, while the sale of them is a Class H felony.
Prescription Drug Fraud
Because prescription drugs can be obtained legitimately, some offenses include fraudulent ways to cheat the system. "Doctor shopping" is a frequent offense, and it involves a person visiting multiple doctors to obtain several prescriptions for a drug. Forging or changing a prescription is also considered fraud, as is impersonating a physician in order to obtain a prescription. These offenses are often paired with other drug charges, such as trafficking or possession.
Sometimes misunderstandings can lead to an arrest for drug fraud, though, and it is important to obtain an attorney to protect you if this is the case. Drug fraud offenses carry heavy penalties which vary depending on the offense, but all carry the possibility of jail time and heavy fines, as well as a criminal drug record that can impede future opportunities for you.
Prescription Drugs and DWI
Many prescription drugs carry the potential for side effects and impairment, and most have a warning about operating a vehicle while under their influence. If a driver is found to be impaired by the medication they're taking, they can be charged with DWI, also known as DUI.
The penalties faced for a DWI offense depend on the "Level" of you offense, which is decided by a complicated array of factors involving mitigating standards, which make the punishment more lenient, and aggravating factors, which make the punishment harsher. While it is a mitigating factor for the intoxicating substance to be a legal drug, even the most lenient DWI has punishments you don't want to face.
Representing Those Facing Prescription Drug Charges in Raleigh
Charges involving prescription drugs are serious offenses, and you need an aggressive defense lawyer to help you face this stressful situation. It can be hard to know the best way to proceed in your case, but an experienced attorney at Clifford Law Group can help you understand your options. Our legal team has helped hundreds of clients facing a range of drug charges in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the surrounding areas.
Call (919) 842-5461 today to schedule your free consultation.