Tennessee prescription drug crimes are very real and serious offenses.  These types of drugs are so prevalent in our society, and can become so addictive, that some people will abuse them and then do anything to keep getting their “fix.”  This may include stealing, forging prescriptions, or buying drugs off the street.  There are many types of crimes in this area.  Having drugs in your possession that are not prescribed to you, possessing an unusually large amount of prescribed drugs or possessing them without a valid prescription, and buying prescription drugs from an unlicensed seller are all common examples of Tennessee prescription drug crimes. Under Tennessee law, prescription drugs, like other controlled substances such as cocaine, marijuana, and heroin, are put into a specific category called a schedule.   What schedule a drug falls into will depend on that drug’s potential for abuse and its currently accepted medical use in the U.S., and that particular drug’s schedule will determine the potential punishment.  A Memphis prescription drug attorney can explain what the potential punishment will be based on the drug involved. Here are some examples of prescription drug penalties: many opiate-based drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and codeine are classified as Schedule II substances, which means they have been found to have a high potential for abuse and that their abuse may lead to severe psychic and physical dependence.  Some of the brand names for these drugs include Percocet, Oxycontin, and Xolox.   Felony possession of these substances is punishable from 3-15 years in prison.  Other common prescription drugs include Xanax and Valium.  These are classified as Schedule IV substances, and felony possession may result in up to 2-12 years in prison.  Felony possession means that the individual is possessing a large quantity of drugs with the intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell.  However, some cases warrant a charge of misdemeanor possession, which means that the possession was only for that individual’s personal use.  Whether the charge is felony or misdemeanor possession will depend on the facts of the case.  Whatever your case, you should consult a Memphis drug crimes lawyer immediately if you have been charged with an offense. Most individuals who have been arrested as a result of illegal prescription activity are not hardened criminals who need to be locked away.  Many have no prior criminal record and need treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment.  A Memphis prescription drug crimes lawyer can help with this.  Programs such as drug court can get substance abusers the help they need while keeping them out of jail, and first-time offenders may be eligible for judicial diversion.  Diversion allows individuals with no prior disqualifying convictions to complete a term of supervised probation.  At the end of probation the charge is dismissed and he or she may have the entire record of the case expunged. Professionals such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists will also need a Memphis prescription crimes attorney if they are charged with a drug-related crime.  These charges are even more serious if the allegations include large scale trafficking and writing fraudulent prescriptions. Not only could the individual lose his or her professional license, they may face significant jail time if the charge includes a conspiracy or possession with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell controlled substances.  Patrick Stegall is a Memphis prescription drug crimes lawyer committed to helping offenders stay out of jail and avoid a permanent conviction on their record.  If you have been charged with a drug offense in Memphis, Germantown, or Collierville, Tennessee, contact Mr. Stegall for options on how to best handle the matter.  He may be reached by phone at 901-205-9894 or email at pstegall@stegall-law.com.

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