CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY MINNEAPOLIS
Minnesota has some of the nation’s strictest prescription drug laws. A violation carries some of the harshest penalties as compared to other states. Making prescription drug offenses even more serious of a matter is the confusing language of the statutes. It is important to not plead guilty, but, rather, get legal representation committed to your best interest. Any prescription drug charge should be handled by a criminal defense attorney with expertise in drug related crimes.
Array Of Offenses: Offer a friend a single painkiller from your own prescription and you have just committed a fifth degree felony. Prescription drugs, like many painkillers, are classified as a controlled substance due to their highly addictive nature. There are many behaviors connected with prescription drugs that are criminalized:
- Using fraud or deceit to acquire a prescription medication;
- Visiting multiple physicians to acquire multiple prescriptions of the same medication (commonly called doctor shopping);
- Unauthorized use of a medical prescription pad;
- Filling another’s person’s prescription for your own personal use;
- Giving another person your own prescription (this applies even if the other person has a prescription for the same medication).
Affecting Conditions: Not all prescription drug crimes are treated identically in the eyes of the law. There are certain factors that can affect the severity of the charge:
- Whether or not the person charged possessed the drug or was selling the drug;
- The type of prescription drug involved;
- Amount of prescription drug involved;
- Prior convictions of person charged.
Other Charges: It is not uncommon for a person to face other charges in conjunction with a prescription drug offense. Having other charges connected to a prescription drug offense can increase possible penalties, such as jail time and fines.
- Proximately Cause: According to Minnesota statute 609.195(b), if a person gives away to another person a prescription drug and the recipient dies after ingesting the medication, the person who gave them the prescription drug can be charged with proximate cause of death. Such a charge does not require any intent to cause another person’s death. To meet the requirements of proximate cause of death it must only be proven that, but for the actions of the person charged, the other person would be alive.
- DWI: Driving while intoxicated is most often associated with alcohol related traffic crimes. However, driving impaired due to prescription drugs is also a DWI offense. Any amount of a schedule I or schedule II controlled substance qualify for causing criminal impairment.
Avoid Conviction: Any prescription drug charge should be faced with a vigorous defense. Even a first-time conviction will have serious long-term adverse consequences. Here are a few ways a single charge can change a person’s life forever:
- Lose the right, for a lifetime, to possess a firearm;
- Lose voter’s rights;
- Lose the right to serve on a jury;
- Green card holders, permanent residents and undocumented persons qualify for automatic deportation;
- Be automatically disqualified for certain jobs (examples: CPA, teacher, nurse);
- Find employment, in general, more challenging;
- Driver’s license could be revoked if charge is related to a traffic offense;
- Travel restrictions could be imposed preventing out-of-state or international travel. Some countries restrict entry altogether of convicted felons;
- Automatically disqualified for student loans;
- Automatically disqualified as foster or adoptive parent;
- Put child custody rights at risk.
Don’t Go It Alone: All too often a person pleads guilty to a first-time charge. The results of doing so can be devastating. Don’t under-estimate the value of securing an experienced criminal defense attorney who will aggressively represent your best interests. Protect your rights and personal liberties. Consider your future and how it will be affected. If you have been charged with a prescription drug offense, please contact us for a consultation with a skilled defense attorney who will advise you on your best options. It is important to avoid a conviction and all of the collateral consequences that accompany it.