Painkillers After an Accident: Can You Get Arrested?
Local authorities are getting tougher on those caught with unauthorized prescription medication. Like any other drug crime, illegal painkiller charges can lead to serious penalties which often have long-term consequences.
By: James Davis
How It Often Happens
Unfortunately, many Jacksonville residents end up dealing with these drug charges after complications from an accident. When injured in any way a doctor is likely to provide their patient with a prescription for a painkiller like Darvocet, Percoset, Hydrocodone, or Oxycontin. The drugs are usually very effective at helping to manage the pain from the injury. It does not take long before use of the medication is the only way that the patient is able to properly control the injury and manage day-to-day.
However, for a variety of reasons, many patients reach a point where their doctor stops providing the prescription. Many have tried everything else to control their pain—from physical therapy to meditation—without any luck. The drugs often seem the only thing that helps. As result, when faced with this very difficult situation some residents are driven to try to obtain the necessary medication via other means, often by using drugs prescribed to another or creating fake prescriptions and trying to use them at local pharmacies.
The Criminal Charges
If caught trying to obtain the painkillers illegally, residents might be charged with a number of crimes. Two of the most common charges in these situations are (1) possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, or (2) obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
But it could even be worse.
In some situations depending on the amount of painkillers that the individual possesses, they could be charged with “trafficking” in the controlled substance—or intending to sell it. Even if the person had no actual intent to sell the drugs, there can still be a conviction on the basis of the weight or number of pills. In fact the penalties in Florida for possession of painkillers can even end up in a prison sentence of 3, 15 or 25 years.
Florida drug crimes are very serious matters, and they can frequently involve felony charges. The possible penalties include jail and prison time, probation, fines, court cost payments, counseling, community service, and more.
In addition, there are many other consequences that come with having a criminal record. Potential jobs are often lost when one is forced to disclose the conviction to an employer. Even participation in certain service activities and volunteer groups may be compromised when forced to reveal a criminal past.
Getting Legal Help
It goes without saying that local residents facing any of these drug charges must seek out the help of a Jacksonville drug defense lawyer as soon as possible. Depending on the specific charges, the manner in which the drugs were obtained, and other unique circumstances, there are often many solid defenses that can be used in the criminal case. In addition, a legal professional will be able to explain ways to lessen possible penalties. In some cases a defendant may be eligible for drugs courts where participation in a treatment program is ordered and the charges are dropped after completion of the program.