If you have been charged with possession of prescription medication or another offense involving prescription drugs, it is imperative you seek the counsel of an Atlanta prescription drug lawyer immediately. Even being caught with only one or two pills that were not prescribed to you can carry serious consequences, potentially resulting in the loss of your voting rights, gun rights, and even the loss of your Georgia driver’s license.
For these reasons, if you or someone you know is facing an illegal possession of prescription medication charge, you should call a drug lawyer in Atlanta today. An experienced lawyer can help figure out alternatives to pleading guilty, such as entering a first offender status plea or pre-trial diversion, and ensure the strongest possible defense for your case is being put forth. To learn more or discuss the pre trial steps that can be taken, call and schedule a consultation today.
Compared with other drug offenses, prescription drug cases have been treated much more seriously in Georgia over the past few years. In fact, there has been a shift in the emphasis of police resources away from methamphetamines and cocaine and towards the investigation of the illegal distribution of prescription medications, especially in the counties north of Atlanta such as Fulton, Gwinnett, and Cobb. Due to this shift it is not uncommon to see doctors arrested for giving out unnecessary prescriptions and turning their medical practice in pill mills. As a result, this has become a hot topic among law enforcement officials in the Atlanta area.
Many people are surprised to learn that in Georgia, an individual can be arrested if they have prescription medications that are not in the original container. Since the pills are not in the prescription medication bottle, the individual won’t have any proof that they belong to them and the police officer may arrest them with the belief that the medications are not theirs.
There is an additional charge called possession of prescription drugs not in the original container which is a misdemeanor. Therefore, if you’ve been arrested and charged, an Atlanta prescription drug attorney can build a defense to show that you did, in fact, have a prescription for the medication at the time of the arrest.
In prescription drug cases, one of the most important facts for a prescription lawyer in Atlanta to know is whether or not the person charged with possession of prescription medications actually had a prescription for those drugs at the time of their arrest. Many times, people, especially elderly people, take their medications out of the regular bottle and put them in a container which has seven slots in it labeled with the days of the week to help them remember to take their medications.
If a person is found to have their prescription medications in a container like that, then law enforcement may not believe they have sufficient proof that they were actually prescribed those medicines and could arrest the person. Thus, it’s essential to provide the proper records to show there was a prescription at that time.
One of the essential differences between possession of prescription medications unlawfully and possessions of other drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamines is that people will quite often believe that because a drug is prescribed or can be prescribed lawfully, it’s not as dangerous as a drug that’s manufactured on the street.
There have been cases in Atlanta where young people have gone to parties and dumped prescription pills into a large bowl just to see what type of buzz they can get. In some cases these kids have gotten very, very sick and on a couple of occasions in the Metro Atlanta area people have even died. There seems to be a mentality that if a drug can be lawfully prescribed, it’s not as dangerous as a street drug. But the fact of the matter is that taking any drug without the proper guidance of a doctor can lead to very, very serious consequences.
When defending prescription drug cases, the same defenses that apply to possession of other types of drugs such as cocaine or heroin still apply. An Atlanta prescription drug lawyer will still look at the question of the search and seizure of the prescription medications, and whether the officers violated a person’s rights to privacy or constitutional protections when they found the drugs.
A lawyer will also look at the question of possession. In order for a person to be guilty of possession of prescription medications unlawfully, not only must they not have had a proper prescription, but they must have knowledge of the drugs and they must have the intent to exercise what the Georgia courts call the dominion and control over the substance.
For example, if a person is driving a car and their passenger has prescription medications unlawfully in their pocket, the driver of the car may not have the requisite knowledge or the intent to exercise dominion and control over those pills. Possession of prescription medications requires more than spatial proximity to the substance, it requires the essential elements of knowledge and the ability and intent to exercise dominion and control over those substances, which is another potential defense in these types of cases.