Throughout the United States, the opioid epidemic is killing 115 people a day. A growing number of drug crimes in Minnesota as well as fatalities stem from opioid abuse.
According to an article by twincities.com, 395 people in Minnesota died of opioid overdose in 2016, which marked an 18 percent increase compared to the prior year. Sadly, the deaths continue to climb. While much of the effort is focused on prevention and treatment efforts, the state has also ramped up the prosecution of drug dealers, particularly in connection with overdose cases. The report indicates some counties and cities plan to file lawsuits against drug manufacturers who misled patients and doctors about the pain medications. When it comes to drug charges, a lot of users think of marijuana, cocaine and other street drugs.
But make no mistake. Prescription drugs charges are a serious problem with legal ramifications requiring a sturdy defense. Some of the most common opiates include morphine, Percocet and Oxycontin. If you face a drug crime, don’t make the mistake of trying to go it alone and take your chances. Rely on an aggressive drug crime defense team familiar with Minnesota law.
Understanding the charges in Minnesota law
Criminal law related to prescription opioids center on illegal procurement of the medication as well as fraudulent activities. Some reasons a person could be charged with a drug crime include if they used a forged prescription when presenting it to the pharmacy. Also, if the prescription is for a different person, don’t pick it up. In Minnesota, a third-party is not able to collect controlled medications. Other crimes include stealing a prescription pad and giving the controlled substance to another individual. A person who receives the medication even though it’s not prescribed to him or her could be found guilty of illegal possession. Some people innocently think they are “helping” a relative or a friend by sharing medications, not realizing they are jeopardizing the other person’s health and safety as well as their own freedom.
Facing penalties for illegal possession
Some people don’t realize that an illegal possession of prescribed medicine is treated by Minnesota law the same way as the possession of street drugs. In terms of the severity, it depends on the quantity of the controlled substance. If you are convicted of illegally possessing a controlled substance, expect up to 30 years and fines up to a million dollars for first-degree possession. Even possession of small amounts often results in up to $250,000 in fines and 20 years in prison. When finished with a prescription, make sure to follow the approved protocol for disposing of medications. Talk to your doctor or law enforcement about proper disposal.
It’s upsetting to deal with illegal possession and other drug charges. In some cases, a charge relates to something innocuous such as placing medications in a container other than an official pill bottle from the pharmacist or having expired medications. In other situations, it’s a matter of having the wrong friends or feeling bullied into doing something you did not want to do. If found guilty of a drug crime, it could mean lifelong consequences that most people are ill equipped to handle. If you receive help from a methadone clinic, make sure to use the proper lock boxes and other protocols set up for the legal handling of medications. In general, never share prescription medicine.
At Judith Samson Attorney at Law, we provide our clients with an effective defense against misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor and felony charges. Samson is an experienced criminal defense attorney with more than 17 years of legal experience. For more tips on fighting drug charges as well as assault, theft, DWI charges, please contact us.