Prescription drugs may have multiple uses. While you may need them for a certain purpose, others may have their own needs for them, some of which may be illegal. Something that is completely legal may cross a line if it is used incorrectly or illegally distributed. You can still face criminal charges for misusing prescription drugs even after your physician had written up a legitimate prescription – in some cases, even when the need was genuine.
OWI for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence
It is important that you read the instructions that go along with your prescription drugs. Some may advise you that you should not operate any type of heavy machinery for a certain period of time after taking the medication. Heavy machinery, in this case, will include a car. Some prescriptions may have a similar impact on alcohol or drugs.
Wisconsin OWI law is not just centered on driving under the influence of alcohol. You can also face criminal charges for operating a vehicle under the influence of any kind of substance that can impair your driving. The law specifically refers to impaired driving as a result of taking controlled substances. Your doctor may prescribe you controlled substances for a completely legitimate medical purpose, such as painkillers or anti-anxiety medication.
You may even be charged with OWI when you have taken prescription medication that is completely legal. It does not matter that a doctor has prescribed medication for you. It is your legal responsibility not to get behind the wheel when you may be feeling the effects of prescription medication. Legal drugs can become illegal when you take them at the wrong time.
If you are charged with OWI, you will face the same penalties as if you had a blood alcohol content greater than .08. These penalties can include the loss of your driver’s license and even time in prison.
Selling or Sharing Prescription Drugs That Are Controlled Substances
Selling prescription drugs can lead to the same penalties that you will receive if you sell other illegal narcotics, such as cocaine and heroin. Some people may seek to buy your prescription in its entirety or just the extra pills that you may not be using. There is harm that can come from selling prescriptions. Not only may it subject you to criminal penalties, but you may also face civil liability if that person overdoses on the medication.
Like any other controlled substance, possession with intent to share or deliver is also treated as a crime. You will just need to know that you possessed a prescription drug and have the intent to deliver it to someone else to meet the elements of a crime. Even possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances is a Class H felony that can be punished by up to six years in prison.
You do not need to sell your prescription to face criminal charges. No money needs to change hands to be subject to criminal penalties. Sharing and selling are treated exactly the same. Wisconsin law also strictly prohibits sharing your prescription with anyone else. You may face criminal charges depending on the type of substance that you share. If you have let someone else have an opioid, you can face serious consequences.
If you have been prescribed opioid medications, you must take reasonable steps to secure them so that no one else can get their hands on them. Even if you have not actively shared your prescription with someone else, you may still be subject to criminal liability if you were negligent in storing the medications. For example, if you left Oxycontin out in the open and a family member accessed it, the law can consider it as if you actively shared the medication.
Of course, not every medication may subject you to criminal penalties when you share them with others. Although it is not necessarily the best medical practice to share prescriptions, the law will only penalize you when you have shared controlled substances with others. For instance, if you gave someone a blood pressure medication pill, it may not be the most prudent thing, but it will not be considered illegal.
Illegally Obtaining Certain Prescription Drugs
You can also face criminal penalties if you illegally obtain prescription drugs. According to section 961 of the Wisconsin Code, it is illegal to “acquire or obtain possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge.” The penalty that you will face depends on the type of controlled substance and the amount that you obtained. It is only legal to obtain these prescriptions legitimately through your own physician. A doctor may also face legal penalties when they illegally prescribe the drugs. Numerous Wisconsin doctors have been criminally charged for running “prescription mills” of opioids or other types of drugs.
Illegal possession of opioids and amphetamines is a potential felony that can be punished by up to 3 ½ years in prison. Even illegal possession of non-opioid drugs like Xanax can be punished with jail time.
While these laws apply most often to opioids, there are other substances that will be considered controlled under Wisconsin law. Another common instance in which people deceptively or fraudulently obtain prescriptions is for stimulants such as Adderall. Some people use the drug for illegal purposes and not just to treat ADHD.
Contact an Appleton Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing any type of criminal charges pertaining to the use or possession of prescription medication, you should take them very seriously. These can have the same impact on your life as any other drug charge will. The attorneys at Hogan Eickhoff can work to provide you with a vigorous legal defense to any charges and fight to obtain the best legal outcome for you. Do not waste any time obtaining legal help. Call us today at (920) 450-9800 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.