Possession of Prescription Drugs
Hire a Skilled Drug Crime Attorney for Charges In DuPage, Kane or Cook County
If authorities accuse you of a prescription drug crime, waste no time in seeking aggressive legal representation. While people obtain many medications through valid prescriptions from medical professionals, there are some instances in which the law considers legal drugs to be unlawful controlled substances. When you face charges of possession of prescription drugs, you are facing similar consequences to those arrested for possessing “street drugs” such as heroin or cocaine.
When it comes to seeking legal representation in a criminal prescription drug case, you should not delay. Contact the DuPage County criminal defense attorneys at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., right away if you face charges of possession of prescription drugs. Because prescription drugs contribute to high numbers of accidental death in the United States, law enforcement authorities prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law. Our experienced legal team can review the circumstances surrounding your criminal drug charges, help you develop a defense that we can assert on your behalf, and work to minimize the legal and personal consequences associated with any conviction.
You should feel free to call our 24-hour legal hotline today at (630) 430-8622 to find out how we can help you with defending against your drug-related charges.
The Illinois Controlled Substances Act
The Illinois Controlled Substances Act governs the distribution and possession of prescription drugs in the State of Illinois. This Act classifies prescription drugs into various categories based on the likelihood that a person may develop an addiction to the drug, abuse the drug, or suffer harm as a result of consuming the drug.
Illegal “street drugs” typically fall within Category I of the Act. Categories II, III, and IV of the Act, on the other hand, generally cover prescription medications. The Illinois State Police (ISP) reports the following statistics for arrests under the Controlled Substances Act for a recent year in Illinois:
- Statewide = 109,272 drug-related arrests
- DuPage County = 5,519 drug-related arrests
- Cook County = 55,201 drug-related arrests
- Kane County = 2,626 drug-related arrests
- Kendall County = 556 drug-related arrests
- Will County = 3,621 drug-related arrests
While many drug-related arrests involve street drugs, many others stem from the possession or distribution of prescription drugs without a valid prescription.
The potential penalties for a conviction of illegally possessing a prescription drug in Illinois vary greatly on a case-by-case basis. These penalties depend largely upon the number of pills or the amount of the substance that the accused allegedly had in his or her possession.
Possessing a prescription drug can lead to Class 4 felony charges. A conviction can mean a sentence involving large monetary fines along with jail time. A conviction of illegally delivering or selling a large quantity of prescription drugs can be a Class X felony, which is not eligible for criminal probation and will mean fines and jail time.
Illegally possessing just a single pill of a prescription drug can also subject you to felony charges. Common prescription drugs involved in criminal cases include the following:
- OxyContin and Oxycodone
In addition to illegally possessing the prescription drug, you could also face a myriad of related criminal charges that may include the following:
- Altering a prescription
- Illegally forging a prescription
- Stealing a prescription pad
- Obtaining a prescription by fraud
If you are currently facing criminal charges for illegally possessing prescription drugs and/or some other related drug charge, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible. The knowledgeable DuPage, Kane, and Cook County criminal defense lawyers at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., can explain your charge to you, as well as the potential penalties upon conviction. We can also help you challenge your charges in court and work towards obtaining a favorable outcome in your case.
What the State Must Prove in Drug Possession Cases
In order for you to be found guilty or convicted of a prescription drug possession charge in Illinois, the State must prove all necessary elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the State fails to meet its legal threshold, the court may dismiss your charge and possibly your entire criminal case.
In the majority of drug possession cases, the State prosecutor must be able to meet the following legal elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The actual identity of the illegal prescription drug
- That you possessed the prescription drug knowingly, willingly, and intentionally
- That the prescription drug was in your immediate possession and under your exclusive control
The skilled DuPage, Kane, and Cook County criminal defense lawyers at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., will be able to tell whether or not the State prosecutor is able to satisfy the required burden of proof. If the prosecutor did not satisfy all of the criminal elements or meet his or her burden, our legal team can raise insufficient evidence as a defense to your charge and argue for a dismissal of your prescription drug possession charge.
Actual versus Constructive Drug Possession
When it comes to illegally possessing a prescription drug, the law recognizes two distinct types of possession: actual possession and constructive possession. Actual possession typically means that police recovered the drug from your person, such as in a pant or coat pocket.
Constructive possession typically means that police found the drug within your immediate reach or vicinity, such as the car in which you are riding or driving. If police find illegally obtained prescription drugs in your home during a raid or police search (i.e., pursuant to a lawfully obtained search warrant), you could also face charges of illegal drug possession.
Defenses Against Prescription Drug Charges
In some situations, you can face charges of prescription drug possession even when the prescription belongs to you and it was filled for a medical reason. Additionally, even being in possession of one prescription pill without a prescription can lead to a case in criminal court. When you work with the drug crimes defense attorneys at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., we will evaluate what happened and determine the best possible defense strategy for your case.
We can use the following to craft your defense:
- Lack of knowledge – In order to find you guilty or convict you of illegal drug possession, the State prosecutor must show that you knowingly possessed the prescription drug. If you were under the misguided belief that the prescription drug was something else or did not know of the presence of the drug, your lawyer could argue that the State failed to satisfy the intent element of the drug charge.
- Possession of a valid prescription – If you can produce a validly issued prescription prepared by a doctor or another qualified health care provider, your prescription drug charge could be subject to dismissal.
- For someone under the age of 13 – If the age of majority is at issue, your prescription drug possession charge could be subject to dismissal.
- Insanity – If you satisfied one of the legal tests for insanity at the time you allegedly possessed the prescription drug, you may be able to use this as a legal defense to your criminal charge.
- Duress – If someone threatened you or unlawfully coerced you into possessing the drug (e.g., threatened you with death or serious bodily harm), that could be a good legal defense that might subject your case to dismissal.
- Entrapment – If a police officer or another criminal investigator unlawfully coerced you or enticed you into taking possession of a prescription drug, your attorney may be able to raise entrapment as a defense to your criminal charge.
Sentencing guidelines that address prescription drug possession can leave the accused facing anywhere from a Class 4 felony charge to a Class X felony charge. A Class 4 felony carries a possible sentence of three years in state prison and a $25,000 fine. A Class X felony carries a possible sentence of 60 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. An experienced criminal defense lawyer at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., can try to minimize these potential penalties, allowing you to return to your normal life as soon as possible.
Call Today to Speak With an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
With so much at stake, do not leave your future in the hands of a prosecutor who seeks to make an example of your case. Martin & Kent, L.L.C., has more than 40 years of legal experience defending thousands of clients from drug charges leveled against them. Waste no time in your defense. Contact our offices for a free case consultation today by calling our 24-hour legal hotline at (630) 474-8000.