Yes, You Can Be Criminally Charged For Using Prescription Drugs

When it comes to being charged for drug crimes, many people assume you only get in trouble if you use illegal substances, such as cocaine. The truth is, you can be charged for misdemeanor or felony offenses related to the use of legal drugs, even if you have a valid prescription for them. Here are two ways this can happen.  

Using Prescription Drugs in Unintended Ways

People land in legal trouble over prescription drugs for a variety of reasons with the top one being mishandling them. For instance, people don't think twice about sharing medication with a friend or relative suffering from the same condition the medicine treats. In most states, though, it's illegal to do this, and you could be hit with distribution charges especially take money in exchange for the drug.

Drug mixing is another area that catches people. This is where you mix your prescription meds with other substances to create something different. Pseudoephedrine is extracted from cold medicines and used to make methamphetamine, for example.

Often drug mixing is done unintentionally. A person may mix two or three types of pain medication to deal with a particularly troublesome migraine, or an alcoholic may take their meds with a shot of bourbon, even though that's not advised. Unfortunately, you can still be hauled into court under the right circumstances.

Just because you're charged, though, doesn't mean your case will end in a conviction. There is a number of ways you can defend against charges related to the misuse or mishandling of your medication. It's a good idea to contact a criminal defense attorney to go over some of the ways you can fight back and avoid going to jail over an innocent mistake.

Going Against Safety Warnings Related to the Medicine

People can also face drug charges when they ignore the safety warnings associated with the use of their prescription medication. A lot of meds advise patients to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery after taking it, for instance. If you get into an accident because you drove while under the influence of medication, you could be charged with DUI. 

Mistakes do happen, though. Sometimes a healthcare provider will fail to warn the patient about certain side effects the medication may have, in which case you may use the doctor's failure to warn as a defense against any criminal charges you're dealing with, for example.

Regardless of how the charges come about, it's essential you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The lawyer can review the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action to take to avoid a conviction. 

For help with your criminal case, contact a local criminal defense attorney.