Santa Barbara Prescription Drug Possession Defense Lawyer
In recent years, prescription painkillers have become a health epidemic in California and throughout the U.S. In an effort to crack down on the opioid crisis and regulate powerful, often addictive medications, lawmakers have criminalized the use and possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription from a licensed physician. If you are accused of purchasing or possessing prescription drugs without your doctor’s prescription, whether for sale or personal use, you could be arrested and charged with serious drug crimes. Similarly, you can also be prosecuted for forging a doctor’s signature in order to gain possession of prescription pills, tablets, or other medications.
Santa Barbara Defense Lawyers for Rx Drug Crimes
If you, your son or daughter, your boyfriend or girlfriend, or another loved one was arrested and charged with prescription drug crimes in Southern California, you need to ensure that an experienced criminal defense attorney will be there to protect your constitutional rights. At The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, our Santa Barbara defense lawyers have over 22 years of experience handling a wide array of felony and misdemeanor prescription drug offenses, including experience as former prosecutors. Representing defendants throughout Santa Barbara County, our prescription drug lawyers are ready to provide the aggressive, sophisticated defense strategy your case demands.
Our Santa Barbara defense attorneys handle many types of prescription drug cases, including charges involving:
- Adderall Possession Charges
- Ambien Possession Charges
- Demerol Possession Charges
- Dilaudid Possession Charges
- Fentanyl Possession Charges
- Ketamine Possession Charges
- Methadone Possession Charges
- Morphine Possession Charges
- OxyContin Possession Charges
- Percocet Possession Charges
- Possession of Prescription Drugs with Intent to Distribute/Deliver (PWID)
- Possession of Schedule I Prescription Drugs
- Possession of Schedule II Prescription Drugs
- Possession of Schedule III Prescription Drugs
- Possession of Schedule IV Prescription Drugs
- Possession of Schedule V Prescription Drugs
- Simple Possession of Prescription Drugs (Personal-Use Possession)
- Steroids Possession Charges
- Valium Possession Charges
- Vicodin Possession Charges
- Xanax Possession Charges
It is urgent to act swiftly if you believe you are under investigation for a drug possession offense involving prescription medications. Call The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC immediately at (805) 643-5555 for a free and confidential legal consultation.
Prescription Drug Laws and Penalties in California
It is perfectly legal to possess prescription medications, such as Valium and Xanax, provided you have a valid and current prescription from your doctor. However, even if a certain medication is legal to possess with a prescription, possession of the same substance without a prescription constitutes a criminal offense. Likewise, the use or possession of a forged prescription slip is also a serious crime.
California has enacted several laws prohibiting the unlawful use or possession of prescription controlled substances, which means prescription drug possession can lead to several different charges. Two of the most common examples are “simple” possession, which is charged when a person possesses a small quantity of drugs for personal use only (such as a recreational or addicted user), and “possession with intent to distribute” or “possession with intent to deliver” (PWID), which is charged when a person possesses a larger quantity of drugs, or multiple packages of drugs, for the purpose of sale or distribution to others. Even if it is legal for a patient to have prescription drugs, it is still illegal for the same patient to sell his or her medication to others. Only the person for whom the prescription was written is authorized to use the medication.
PWID is generally a more serious charge than simple possession, though the severity of each charge depends on factors like the type of drug, the quantity involved, and the defendant’s record of prior drug offenses, if any. Possession for sale is a felony, whereas simple possession is a “wobbler,” meaning it can be a felony or misdemeanor depending on the particular details of the case. For example, it is a generally felony to possess prescription drugs unlawfully if you have been convicted of a sex offense.
When you have been charged with a wobbler, skilled legal representation can make the difference between confronting a felony and a misdemeanor. The differences in sentencing can be vast: up to three years in prison for a drug possession felony, compared to a maximum one-year jail sentence if the crime is a misdemeanor. It can also be more difficult to get a job with a felony record, in addition to consequences for gun ownership, international travel, and the loss of other privileges.
In addition to simple possession and PWID with prescription drugs, it is also a crime to forge or falsify information in order to obtain prescription drugs. For example, it is illegal to:
- Forge a doctor’s signature for a narcotic drug.
- Impersonate or pretend to be a nurse, doctor, or other healthcare professional in order to obtain prescription drugs.
- Make false statements on prescription orders.
If convicted of a misdemeanor, you may be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to a year in jail. If convicted of a felony, you may face up to three years in prison.
Santa Barbara Prescription Drug Possession Lawyers Are Available
The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC is a Santa Barbara criminal defense firm with decades of experience providing legal representation to defendants charged with possessing prescription drugs in Buellton, Carpinteria, Goleta, Guadalupe, Isla Vista, Lompoc, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Mission Canyon, Mission Hills, Montecito, Orcutt, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Summerland, Toro Canyon, Vandenberg Village, and other communities in Santa Barbara County. Having worked on numerous cases involving prescription slip forgery and the illegal possession of prescription medication, our respected prescription drug crime attorneys are well-versed in the tactics which can be used to fight the charges or negotiate a deal, where doing so is in your best interests. We may be able to obtain a drastic sentence reduction, or even have your case dismissed.
Do not wait to hire a criminal attorney if you or a family member is under arrest for prescription drug charges in Santa Barbara. For a free legal consultation, call The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC right away at (805) 643-5555.