If you have been accused of a drug-related crime involving prescription drugs, you are likely worried about what happens next. Penalties for drug crimes are severe and often include time spent in jail or prison. As a Sarasota drug lawyer, Erika Valcarcel of Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. understands the devestating impact of a drug charge. Attorney Erika Valcarcel has worked as both a prosecutor and a defender, meaning she can anticipate the prosecution’s strategy to craft a winning defense. Call (941) 363-7900 to see how she can protect your freedom.
In the state of Florida, it is illegal to possess certain substances for any purpose. These prohibited substances are collectively referred to as controlled dangerous substances (CDS). While this group includes well-known chemicals of abuse, such as cocaine and heroin, it also includes less expected drugs. Many prescription drugs are listed as CDS, and while they are legal to possess with a doctor’s permission, obtaining them for recreational use can lead to severe criminal consequences.
Prescription Drugs and CDS Schedules
Florida separates all controlled dangerous substances into categories known as schedules. These schedules are characterized by abuse potential as well as the extent to which certain drugs can be used for medical purposes. An overview of schedules I-V is listed below:
- Schedule I: Contains drugs with an extremely high potential for abuse. Examples include heroin, cocaine, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy
- Schedule II: Contains drugs with a high potential for abuse. Examples include Demoral, OxyContin, Percocet, and morphine
- Schedule III: Contains drugs with a mid-level potential for abuse. Examples include Vicodin, Suboxone, and Tylenol (with codeine)
- Schedules IV and V: Contains drugs with a low potential for abuse. Examples include Valium, Versed, Restoril, and Soma
Most prescription drugs fall within schedules II, III, IV, and V. While some of these medications are considered more dangerous than others, the penalties are harsh across the board.
Penalties for Prescription Drug Crimes
The offenses related to prescription drugs are numerous. From trafficking large quantities of a substance to simple possession, there is great diversity in the crimes that can be committed. Regardless of the offense, drug crimes are punished harshly. Unless charges are dropped or a diversion program is entered, the chances spending time behind bars is high. In general, the penalties for prescription drug crimes include, but are not limited to:
- Incarceration: sentences range from weeks in jail to over 10 years spent in prison
- Fines: court mandated fines range from $100 to $100,000 or more
- Probation: these periods can either replace jail time or be implemented after the accused has been released from custody
- License Suspension
- Drug classes, treatment random urinalysis
- Diversion: counseling or behavior modification program that can lead to your charges being dismissed upon completion
There are also collateral consequences that can haunt you for the rest of your life. Finding a job may become all but impossible, as employers are not fond of hiring someone with a criminal record. Continuing your education might also be difficult. Many schools vet applicants before they are admitted. Further, scholarship committees do not commonly award funds to drug offenders.
Contact Sarasota Drug Lawyer Erika Valcarcel Today
A skilled lawyer can implement a number of defenses to get your charges wiped out in court. Often times, police may not follow proper procedures, thereby violating your rights. If an illegal search took place or if you were abused during your arrest, your charges could be dismissed. It could also be the case that you were the victim of mistaken identity. If you simply happened to be near a stash when police were present, your arrest was unwarranted. Proving that you were not truly in possession of the controlled substance can help you regain your freedom.
Sarasota drug lawyer Erika Valcarcel of Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. is prepared to provide you with the legal representation you deserve. She will thoroughly investigate your case to uncover every detail. With enough information, she can present your case in the best possible light. Call (941) 363-7900 now for a free consultation.