Houston Prescription Drugs Attorney
When we usually think of a drug dealer, we picture a shady late-night meeting on a street corner where someone is selling cocaine or heroin. We never consider that our own family may be involved in illicit drug deals involving nominally legal prescription medication. But prescription drug crimes have been increasing at an alarming rate in Texas and throughout the country–and if you or a loved one is accused of such an offense you need to take the matter seriously.
At the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, our experienced Houston prescription drug attorneys assist people throughout the Houston and Galveston County region who find themselves in trouble with the law. Even if you think you have a legal right to possess a prescription drug, you could still face felony charges for distribution–even federal drug trafficking. We can go over your case in detail and zealously represent your interests in dealing with law enforcement and the courts.
The Consequences of Possessing Drugs Without a Prescription
All prescription drugs are subject to the Texas Controlled Substances Act. The Act authorizes the state to restrict access to certain drugs without a valid doctor’s prescription. Many common prescription drugs are classified as “Schedule I” or “Schedule II” substances, and the Act imposes severe criminal penalties for unauthorized possession or distribution of members of either group.
For example, Schedule II includes a number of popular opiates (painkillers), such as Codeine, Hydrocodone, Morphine, and Oxycodone. Other well-known prescription drugs on Schedule I or Schedule II include Xanax, Vicodin, Valium, Ritalin, and Percocet. The Texas Department of State Health Services regularly publishes an updated list of all controlled substances.
If you are caught with any such drugs without a valid prescription, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, even if you have no prior criminal record and never intended to resell or otherwise distribute the prescription drug. The precise offense level will depend on a number of factors, including what schedule the drug is listed on and the amount found in your possession. Obviously, the more you are alleged to have, the higher the potential charge.
In addition, you can be separately charged with DWI or DUI if you are caught operating a motor vehicle under the influence of any prescription drug, even one that you legally possess. The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates can assist you in these situations. Principal attorney Tad Nelson is a former prosecutor who has dealt with driving under the influence of drugs cases from both sides of the courtroom, and he knows how to attack this type of criminal charge.
Have You Been Charged With Prescription Drug Fraud?
Tragically, many perfectly good people become addicted to prescription drugs through no fault of their own. This is a common problem with opiates. A person undergoes painful surgery and the doctor prescribes an opiate like Oxycontin. But once the prescription runs out, the patient is now addicted–and in many cases will go to extreme lengths to feed their addiction.
This unfortunately may lead to prescription drug fraud. Under Section 481.129 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, a person commits a crime if they issue a prescription “bearing a forged or fictitious signature.” Texas prosecutors often charge painkiller addicts with forging their doctor’s signature or stealing their prescription pads. Other forms of criminal prescription drug fraud include:
- Posing as someone else to use their prescription;
- Modifying a valid prescription to increase the quantity received from the pharmacy;
- Purchasing a controlled substance from an unlicensed seller, i.e. over the Internet; and
- Faking symptoms in order to obtain a medically unnecessary prescription.
The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates Can Help
Finally, if you are in possession of a controlled substance with a valid prescription, you may not share or sell your medication with anyone else. Even loaning a single pill to a friend–whom you honestly believe has a legitimate medical need–can be construed as felony distribution by aggressive prosecutors. Indeed, you could find yourself charged with a level of severity typically reserved for habitual violent criminals.
This is why you need to contact a qualified Houston prescription drugs attorney if you have any reason to suspect you are under criminal investigation. State and federal law enforcement will not hesitate to come after you with full force if they believe you are dealing in illegal prescription drugs. Your best bet at a favorable outcome is to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side. Call the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today at (281) 280-0100 if you live in the Houston, Galveston, or League City areas and need to speak with someone right away.