Prescription Drug Offenses
Many of the medications prescribed by doctors and health care practitioners are controlled substances under Tennessee and federal laws. Restrictions on these prescriptions have resulted in numerous arrests for drug possession, trafficking, prescription drug fraud, and other criminal offenses in Tennessee. Nashville drug crimes lawyer Bernie McEvoy understands that in many prescription drug cases, the law was violated unintentionally or as the result of a careless mistake. With a thorough examination of the facts and an aggressive defense strategy, he has helped many people avoid convictions for prescription drug offenses in Davidson and Williamson Counties.Tennessee Prescription Drug Crimes
Tennessee law regulates all drugs classified as controlled substances. Along with illicit street drugs, the list of controlled substances includes many pharmaceutical drugs and medications that are lawfully used and prescribed by doctors to treat disease, illness, and pain. Some medications, such as oxycodone and other opioids, may become addictive and be abused for non-medical purposes. To prevent misuse of these drugs, Tennessee has criminalized the possession of any controlled substance that was not obtained directly by a valid prescription, or by order of a health care practitioner. Consequently, someone may be suspected of drug possession if a police officer finds them with a large quantity of prescription pills in an unmarked plastic bag. In this particular example, it is relatively easy to prove that the pills were legally acquired and prescribed to the person carrying them, even without the pharmacy bottle. It may be more complicated, however, if the prescribed dosage does not match the amount found in possession of the defendant, or if the prescription was issued a long time ago.
Criminal drug offenses for casual exchange, delivery, sale, and possession with intent also apply to prescription drugs classified as controlled substances. Giving a friend a few of your prescription pain pills, for example, could lead to a criminal charge for casual exchange. Although casual exchange is typically a misdemeanor for first-time offenders, it may result in penalties of up to one year in jail, a monetary fine, community service, and rehab program if convicted. Delivering, selling, or intending to deliver or sell prescription drugs are more serious felony charges. In these situations, an experienced criminal defense attorney can mount an appropriate defense strategy based on the facts of the case.Prescription Drug Fraud
In addition to general drug crimes, Tennessee law includes specific criminal offenses targeting prescription drug abuse. In Tennessee, it is a crime to acquire or attempt to acquire possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge. Forging or altering a prescription, impersonating a pharmacy patient, or lying about medical symptoms to obtain a controlled substance are examples of acts that may constitute prescription drug fraud. A violation is a class D felony. However, a first-time offender may ask the court to suspend the sentence and participate in a drug rehab program.
It is also illegal for a person to deceive or fail to disclose to a doctor or other health care provider who prescribes them a controlled substance that, within the last 30 days, they have already been prescribed or given the same or a similar controlled substance from another practitioner. Health care providers in Tennessee are required to report anyone who obtains or attempts to obtain controlled substances in violation of the law. This offense is a class A misdemeanor, but may be elevated to a felony charge if it involves a large quantity of drugs. Defenses that may be available depend on the circumstances of the case. For example, the defense may present evidence that the prior medication prescribed to the defendant was not the same or a similar controlled substance, or that the defendant did not intend to deceive the medical provider.Consult a Prescription Drug Offense Lawyer in the Nashville Area
If you have been arrested for an alleged prescription drug offense, retaining a qualified criminal defense attorney can make a difference in your case. Nashville lawyer Bernie McEvoy has the experience and commitment to defend against prescription drug charges, as well as charges related to marijuana, cocaine, and other substances. In addition to residents of Nashville and Franklin, he has represented people from areas throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties. Request your free consultation today by contacting our office. We are available online and by phone at (615) 255-9595 or (615) 804-8779 after hours and weekends.