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Columbus Prescription Drugs Possession Lawyer

Charged with Illegal Prescription Drug Possession? Call LHA for a Free Consult: (614) 500-3836.

Every day in central Ohio, people are arrested on prescription drug possession charges ranging from Oxycodone and Percocet to Xanax and Oxycontin. The penalties for prescription drug possession can range from probation to a mandatory prison term. The penalties depend largely on the quantity of the prescription drug you are alleged to have possessed and your prior criminal history.

If you are charged with prescription drug possession under the Ohio Revised Code, you will be subject to a possible driver’s license suspension. In addition, a prescription drug possession conviction could disqualify you from student financial aid loans and can also cause licensure issues in some professions.

When you call Luftman, Heck & Associates today, a Columbus prescription drugs possession lawyer will take a two-pronged approach to all prescription drug possession cases. First and foremost, we will figure out what mistakes the police made and what legal issues can be raised on your behalf.

Some potential legal issues we look for in every prescription drug possession case include:

  • Fourth Amendment violations;
  • Warrants issued without probable cause;
  • Wiretapping and other illegal surveillance;
  • Miranda Rights warnings omitted, abridged or defied by police and prosecutors;
  • Statements and evidence illegally obtained, or improperly allowed at trial; and
  • Findings delivered as a result of canine searches (drug-sniffing dogs).
  • Lab analysis issues

We do this by requesting discovery from the prosecutor. The discovery will generally consist of police reports, additional investigative notes and a lab analysis of the prescription drug. As our client, you will receive a copy of everything received from the prosecutor for your review.

Based on the legal weaknesses in the State of Ohio’s case and any other mitigating factors, we will negotiate the best possible plea available with the prosecutor for you to consider in resolving your case.

If your case cannot be resolved satisfactorily with a plea, it would then proceed to a motion hearing (a hearing where the judge issues a ruling on an evidentiary issue) or a trial to the judge or jury, depending on the circumstances.

The second approach taken by one of our Columbus prescription drugs possession lawyers is to identify whether you have a substance abuse problem and if there are treatment programs available in lieu of jail or prison.

For nearly ten years, our Columbus prescription drugs possession lawyers have successfully represented clients on prescription drug possession charges. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.

Illegal Drug Documents

Abuse of prescription drugs is a serious problem in the United States. The rates of people dying from prescription drug overdoses — particularly from narcotic pain medicines — has skyrocketed over the last 15 years, and lawmakers have taken steps to try to crack down on prescription drug abuse.

One of those steps was to enact a law making it a serious crime in Ohio to possess or traffic in fake or forged prescriptions. When you’re charged with of one of the offenses defined as illegal processing of drug documents, you’re facing a possible conviction for a felony drug crime, with consequences that will affect the rest of your life. You may serve prison time, lose your driver’s license, have to pay thousands of dollars in fines, and be permanently labeled a felony drug offender.

If you’ve been charged with illegal processing of drug documents, you’re going to need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you want to avoid some of the more serious consequences of a conviction. A good Columbus defense lawyer can look at the facts and evidence with a unique perspective and find a defense strategy that may get your case dismissed, or advocate on your behalf to try to get your penalties reduced.

What is Illegal Processing of Drug Documents?

Ohio Rev. Code 2925.23 defines several offenses related to the illegal possession or processing of prescription documents. Under this statute, it’s a crime to:

  • Knowingly make a false statement in any prescription or drug order
  • Intentionally make, utter, or sell a false or forged prescription, preprinted blank prescription, official written order, distribution license, or distributor certificate
  • Knowingly possess a false or forged prescription, preprinted blank prescription, official written order, terminal distribution license, or wholesale distributor certificate
  • Acquire by theft a prescription, blank prescription, official written order, blank official written order, license or blank license for a terminal drug distributor, registration or blank certificate for a wholesale drug distributor
  • Knowingly make or affix a false or forged label to a package or receptacle containing drugs

If you are suspected of committing any one of those offenses, you may be charged in Ohio with illegal processing of drug documents.

Penalties for Illegal Drug Document Offenses

Illegal processing of drug documents is a felony crime, but the category of felony depends on which of the forms of the offense you are alleged to have committed, and may be affected by the type of drug involved.

Illegal processing of drug documents is a fifth-degree felony, with a possible sentence of 6 to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, when you:

  • Make, sell, or possess a blank prescription, terminal distributor license, or wholesale distributor certificate
  • Acquire by theft a blank prescription, blank official written order, blank terminal distributor license, or blank wholesale distributor certificate
  • Knowingly make a false statement regarding a prescription or order for Schedule III, IV, or V drugs or marijuana
  • Make, sell, or possess a false or forged prescription or official written order for a Schedule III, IV, or V drug or marijuana

Illegal processing of drug documents is a fourth-degree felony, with a possible sentence of 6 to 18 months and a fine of up to $5,000, when you:

  • Knowingly make a false statement regarding a prescription or order for a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance other than marijuana
  • Make, sell, or possess a false or forged prescription or official written order for a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance other than marijuana

Other Consequences for an Illegal Drug Documents Conviction

Ohio law provides that a court may suspend or revoke your driver’s license when you’re convicted of any form of illegal processing of drug documents. You won’t be allowed to drive — including for your job if you hold a commercial driver’s license — for the duration of the suspension or revocation, and may face stiff penalties if you drive under suspension and are pulled over.

The statute also requires that a court report your conviction to any professional licensing board that issued you a license to practice your profession in Ohio. If you’re a doctor, nurse, dentist, pharmacist, or any other kind of health professional, a conviction related to an illegal prescription likely means at least a suspension, but could spell the end of your career.

Because illegal processing of drug documents is a felony, a conviction means a permanent record as a felony drug offender. Ways that may affect your life include:

  • You may be unable to get a job when potential employers learn about your conviction in a background check
  • You may be unable to rent an apartment when your conviction shows up on a background check
  • You may be unable to get admitted to a college or university, and may be unable to get federal financial aid to pay for school
  • If you’re already a college student, you may lose your federal financial aid
  • If you’re not an American citizen, a felony drug conviction may result in denial of a visa or work permit and deportation to your home country

Possible Defenses to an Illegal Drug Documents Charge

When you’re accused of illegal processing of drug documents, a prosecutor must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. The elements of the offense will vary somewhat depending on which form of the offense is the basis for your charge. For example, if you’re charged with knowingly possessing a false or forged prescription or order, then the prosecutor has to prove each and every one of the following:

  • You were in possession of a prescription or order
  • The prescription or order was falsified or forged
  • You knew the prescription or order was falsified or forged

What if you didn’t know? What if you genuinely believed the prescription was legitimate and you had no idea that the doctor’s signature had been forged? Then you may have a defense to the charge. You also may have a defense if the document turns out to be legitimate and was not in fact falsified or forged.

An experienced Columbus defense lawyer can evaluate the facts and evidence in your case, hear your side of the story, and discuss your options for a defense strategy. In addition to attacking the facts the prosecutor claims support the charge, your Columbus defense lawyer also will look at the investigation process for ways that your rights may have been violated. When your rights have been violated, it may be possible to prevent evidence gathered using illegal means from being used against you in court, which in turn may open the door for your lawyer to get your case dismissed or your charge reduced. Some common ways that defendants’ rights are violated during investigations or arrests include:

  • The police found evidence against you during an illegal search, such as conducting a search of you or your property without a warrant and without probable cause
  • The police found evidence against you during an illegal stop
  • The police had no reasonable suspicion to arrest you
  • The police used illegal wiretapping or surveillance to obtain evidence against you
  • The police didn’t properly administer your Miranda rights

How a Columbus prescription drugs possession lawyer can help you

If you’ve been charged with possession of drugs, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced prescription drug attorney to fight for you in court, please contact a Columbus drug offense attorney at (614) 500-3836 or via email at [email protected].

Penalties

Percocet

Less than 20 grams
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six months to a year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Twenty to 99 grams
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties::

  • A prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
One hundred to 999 grams
This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
One thousand to 1,999 grams
This is a felony of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of three to 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Two thousand grams or more
This is a felony of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license

Vicodin

Less than five grams

This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence of up to 180 days
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $1,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Less than five grams, with a prior drug abuse conviction
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six months to a year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Five to 24 grams

This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six to 18 months
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $5,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Twenty-five to 249 grams
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of nine months to three years
    • If you have two or more prior drug abuse convictions, this will be mandatory
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000

  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Two hundred fifty grams or more

This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license

Oxycontin/Oxycodone

Less than 20 grams
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence of six months to a year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Twenty to 99 grams
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
One hundred to 999 grams
This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
One thousand to 1,999 grams
This is a felony of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of three to 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Two thousand grams or more

This is a felony of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license

Xanax

Less than 120 grams
This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence of up to 180 days
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $1,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Less than 120 grams, with a prior drug abuse conviction
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six months to a year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
One hundred twenty to 599 grams
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six to 18 months
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $5,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Six hundred to 5,999 grams
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of nine months to three years
    • If you have two or more prior drug abuse convictions, this will be mandatory
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Six thousand grams or more
This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license

Adderall

Less than 20 grams
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six months to a year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Twenty to 99 grams
  • A prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine ranging from $5,000 to $10,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
One hundred to 999 grams
This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
One thousand to 1,999 grams
This is a felony of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of three to 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Two thousand grams or more

This is a felony of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license

Soma

Less than 120 grams
This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence of up to 180 days
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $1,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Less than 120 grams, with a prior drug abuse conviction
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six months to a year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
One hundred twenty to 599 grams

This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of six to 18 months
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $5,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Six hundred to 5,999 grams

This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of nine months to three years
    • If you have two or more prior drug abuse convictions, this will be mandatory
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license
Six thousand grams or more
This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Possible suspension of your driver’s license, with
    • A chance at receiving limited driving privileges, for going to work and other pre-approved purposes, at the judge’s discretion
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your professional license

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it illegal if I have the bulk amount (or more), but I'm also prescribed the medication?
No. As long as you can account for every pill by producing copies of your prescriptions, you’re in the clear.
If the drug is not on me, am I free and clear?
Not necessarily. You could qualify for “constructive possession” if you were aware the drug was in your vicinity, you knew it was illegal and it was close enough to you that someone could reasonably assume it was yours.If you are in a situation like this, it’s important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to see what kinds of defenses are available to you.
What are some common defenses to drug possession?
Generally, a criminal defense attorney will first look to see whether your right to be protected against illegal search and seizure was violated in any way during the incident. Officers must have probable cause before stopping you to commit a search. Any violation in protocol has the potential to help your case.

Resources

For over a decade, the Columbus criminal defense attorneys at LHA have successfully represented clients on criminal offenses ranging from minor misdemeanors to first degree felonies. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.

Talk to a Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have any questions about the material or if you need an experienced, competent attorney, call the Columbus criminal defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 500-3836.

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