Possession of Prescription Drugs

Some substances are legal only when obtained through proper channels. Arizona has strict laws regarding the possession of prescription drugs. Only a doctor is permitted to distribute these drugs, and only a person who has received these drugs from a doctor is permitted to possess or use them.

It is against the law in Arizona to knowingly use or possess a prescription drug that isn’t prescribed to you by a licensed doctor. Similarly, it is illegal to possess a prescription-only drug for sale without a proper license. Manufacturing or possessing the chemicals and materials to manufacture prescription-only drugs without authorization is a crime, and it is also illegal to administer a prescription drug to another or transport a prescription drug for sale, without proper permits. Misrepresenting oneself for the purpose of obtaining a prescription is a crime.

Possessing Prescription Drugs Illegally

Illegal possession of prescription-only drugs is not as serious as possession of narcotics or drugs the state of Arizona has classified as dangerous. However, there are still significant penalties. Illegally possessing prescription-only drugs or the equipment and chemicals to manufacture them, manufacturing them, lying to obtain them, or administering them to another person are class 1 misdemeanors. The maximum prison sentence for a class 1 misdemeanor is 6 months.

Possessing prescription-only drugs for sale or transporting them for sale are more serious crimes. A person guilty of either of those offenses is guilty of a class 6 felony. The minimum prison sentence for a class 6 felony is 6 months.

Being guilty of any of these offenses guarantees a fine of $1,000. While prison sentences for these crimes vary, the fine does not.

Federal Charges for Illegal Possession

Possessing prescription drugs illegally can also bring federal charges; those accused of transporting prescription drugs across state lines are accused of a felony.

In addition to transportation, possession with the intent to sell brings advanced consequences. Most illegal drugs in the state of Arizona have threshold amounts; the quantity of a drug a person can have deemed for personal use. Going above the threshold amount means an accused party is assumed to have the intent to sell. Regardless of the person’s actual purpose, he or she will face more serious charges. Narcotics, marijuana, and dangerous drugs all have specific threshold amount, but prescription drugs are judged differently.

Because different amounts are prescribed depending on a patient’s case, intent to sell must be examined from a different perspective. Abuse of prescription drugs is one of the most common drug offenses, and to fairly determine punishment, the court must look at medical history, criminal history, the nature of the drug, and more. Despite these considerations, it’s important to know even taking a family member’s prescription drugs is a crime. If caught, you can face legal consequences.

Expectations for Fines and Consequences

For first-time offenders, prison time as a result of possessing prescription-only drugs with no intent to sell is not the most common penalty. Fines, probation, community service, and drug addiction treatment programs tend to be the route most Arizona courts take.

Those accused are often required to submit drug tests if going through probation. Repeat offenders and people who possess prescription drugs with intention to sell can expect to face more serious penalties. The typical penalty for transporting or possessing prescription drugs is 240 hours of community service, on top of a $1,000 fine.

Possession of prescription-only drugs is one of the less serious drug offenses in Arizona. However, it’s also one of the easiest crimes to commit. If you have been accused of possessing prescription drugs illegally, contact the Law Offices of Scott David Stewart for assistance.