It is illegal to purchase prescription drugs without a prescription from an authorized medical professional, such as a doctor or dentist. Over-the-counter drugs may be purchased without a prescription, as opposed to prescription drugs.

Compared to over-the-counter medications, these drugs are stronger and more effective. Prescription drugs also have more side effects. Additionally, newer prescription drugs may lack testing and research, meaning that unknown side effects may develop over time.

A doctor or other individual licensed to write prescriptions is responsible for providing prescription drugs and ensuring they are taken under the doctor’s direction. Individuals are not permitted to possess prescription drugs without a valid prescription that was obtained legally or without the use of fraud or through a pill mill.

In addition, it is unlawful for any individual in legal possession of prescription drugs to sell those drugs.

There are numerous types of prescription drugs, which include:

  • Pain medications;
  • Blood pressure medications;
  • Diabetes medications; or
  • Various other types of medications.

Contrary to over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs are typically sold in hospitals or pharmacies. Many prescription drugs contain special instructions to help prevent injury and improve effectiveness.

What Is a “Controlled Substance”?

Generally, a controlled substance is a drug that the government regulates. Usually, these substances can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health and welfare and are strictly controlled by government regulation. The Controlled Substances Act divides up different classes of drugs into five schedules based on medicinal value, the potential for abuse, safety to the public, and the likelihood of dependency. Both legal and illegal drugs are considered controlled substances.

What Is Xanax?

In California, Xanax possession is defined as having a prescription drug without a valid prescription. It also includes having a valid prescription but possessing too much of the drug at once. Another type of prescription drug crime is possessing Xanax for sale.

What Is Drug Trafficking?

Drug trafficking is knowingly possessing, manufacturing, selling, purchasing, or delivering a controlled substance. Without a valid prescription, Xanax is considered an illegal Schedule IV controlled substance.

Does California Consider Xanax Possession for Sale the Same as Drug Trafficking Law?

No. Xanax possession for sale is criminalized in California under two different laws. The sale of Xanax is illegal unless the seller is a licensed business. Such businesses are places like pharmacies and hospitals. A second crime involves possessing Xanax for economic gain rather than personal use.

What are Some Things That Can Be Used Against Me to Prove I Possessed Xanax to Sell?

To prove a defendant possessed Xanax to sell, a prosecutor can use the following as evidence:

  • The defendant had a large amount of Xanax
  • The defendant had frequent visitors to the home or business
  • There was a large amount of money found on or around the Xanax
  • The Xanax was packaged for possible sale

Prescription Fraud

A prescription drug is a medication that cannot be legally purchased or possessed without a valid prescription from an authorized medical professional.

For example, doctors and dentists can write valid prescriptions for patients. Due to the difficulty of obtaining prescription drugs legally, there is a sizable black market for people who sell prescription drugs that they have obtained illegally such as through pill mills.

What Is Prescription Fraud?

Prescription fraud occurs when an individual illegally acquires prescription drugs for either profit or personal use.

How Does Prescription Fraud Happen?

Prescriptions can be obtained illegally in many ways, including:

  • Obtaining more than one prescription for the same ailment from multiple doctors
  • Forging a prescription

What Makes Obtaining a Prescription Fraudulent?

Criminal fraud is any act where a person intends to deceive someone via a false representation of a fact. The individual relies upon that fact to their detriment in court. Forging a valid prescription is an example of fraud. It is possible, for instance, for a doctor to believe a patient needs pain medication when she just wants the prescription to sell.

What If I Do Not Intend to Sell the Prescription?

Even if you intend to use the drugs yourself and don’t intend to sell them, it is still fraud. Many people commit prescription fraud because they are addicted to the medication and cannot obtain a prescription for them from a doctor.

What Is The Punishment for Xanax Possession for Sale?

Possession of Xanax for Sale is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days (less than 1 year) in jail.

Are There Any Defenses I Can Use to Fight This Charge?

Yes. Some common defenses for prescription drug crimes include:

What Is the Unwitting Possession Defense?

Defendants may use the unwitting possession defense when they have actual possession of a prescription drug but are unaware that it is illegal. This defense is available because an individual must be aware that they are in possession of the drug illegally.

The act of giving another person a bag to hold is an example of unwitting possession. If the individual holding the bag is not aware that it contains prescription drugs, then they do not possess the required knowledge to be found guilty of illegal possession.

Another example occurs if the drugs are left in an individual’s vehicle and are later discovered during a traffic stop. A defendant may not be found guilty if they were completely unaware of the presence of the prescription drugs.

What Is the Lack of Possession Defense?

Defendants who lack possession of a drug do not have actual control over it. The foundation of a prescription drug charge is physical possession.

An individual might share a vehicle or a home with a group of other individuals. It is necessary for the prosecution to prove that the prescription drugs were in the exclusive possession of the defendant, such as in their bedroom. Drugs could have been possessed by anyone who used the shared area or vehicle.

How Does the Illegal Search and Seizure Defense Work?

Without a warrant, law enforcement cannot search an individual’s home under the Fourth Amendment. In addition, it prohibits law enforcement from searching a vehicle without probable cause.

The prescription drugs may be excluded from use as evidence in a courtroom if law enforcement conducts a search without probable cause or a warrant. In order to determine whether this defense may be applicable to a particular case, a defense attorney is best suited to do so.

Can Other Persons Be Held Liable for Prescription Drug Crimes?

In many cases, a prescription drug crime involves an individual using the drugs illegally or obtaining the drugs illegally and reselling them on the black market. However, other individuals, such as medical professionals, may be found guilty of a prescription drug crime.

Doctors and pharmacists may be involved in criminal activity if they collude with drug sellers or distributors. For example, a fake prescription may be issued by a doctor or pharmacist.

These actions may constitute pharmacist malpractice for the professional, and these individuals risk losing their license. These practices may also lead to criminal penalties for the medical professional.

Are There Possible Immigration Consequences?

A felony conviction for a drug crime can adversely affect a person’s immigration status if they are not citizens.

For example, those convicted of drug trafficking can be removed from the country immediately. A history of similar drug convictions can even make them ineligible for entry into the United States and ineligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Should I Contact a Lawyer about My Criminal Charge?

Yes. Use LegalMatch to contact a California drug lawyer and learn more about how to fight your criminal charge.