Although most people agree that the war on drugs has been a failure, the war continues and many innocent victims are arrested. Despite an encouraging trend toward rehabilitation, rather than incarceration, street cops and Federal agencies in Texas are still challenged to keep the number of arrests increasing. Often, drug crimes arrests start with a traffic stop, many times pre-textual. Here come the dogs, and the endless questions about your destination, your possessions, and your life.
Different drugs are assigned to different schedules depending upon their potency and high potential for abuse. Methamphetamines, cocaine, and heroin are examples of Schedule I drugs. Many other street drugs, including ecstasy, have no legal medical use, are heavily abused, addictive, and dangerous, and cannot be obtained by prescription from a doctor.
Some of these drugs include:
* Prescription drugs that can be illegal if abused or obtained fraudulently
In Houston, Harris Country, Fort Bend Country, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, and other Texas cities or counties, both federal and stage law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys still enforce drug crimes with a vengeance.
With mandatory minimum prison sentences on some delivery, or possession with intent to deliver, cases, prosecutors recognize the leverage that they have and like to pile on the prison time.
While the police may believe they rule the road, fortunately the constitution still rules the land and an experienced drug defense attorney may be the key to victory and freedom. Search and seizure laws are addressed by the United States Supreme Court more than any other area of law. Only an experienced drug crimes defense attorney willing to put in the time to stay current can find the problems with the prosecution’s case and exploit them to your winning defense
Unfortunately, many good people become addicted to prescription pain killers after suffering an injury. Instead of dealing with this addiction directly in the form of rehabilitation, many resort to prescription fraud or “doctor shopping” in order to get the medications their addiction demands. While society may be sympathetic with this explanation, it is not a legal defense.
Prescription fraud is a serious crime at both the Federal and state of Texas levels, and it can result in penitentiary or jail time, and a permanent criminal record affecting your professional and personal life.
With the modern opioid epidemic, those addicted to pain medications have frequently resorted to “doctor shopping,” the practice of seeing multiple physicians in an effort to get prescription pain killer medication, a felony offense in most cases. Others may forge prescriptions if they have access to prescription pads.
Hydrocodone Combination Products (HCPs), the most frequently abused prescription pain killer, have been moved by the DEA from Schedule III to the more restrictive Schedule II effective October 2014. This rescheduling increases restrictions on the prescription and dispensing practices for HCPs.
Most controlled substances have valid medical uses, but they also have the potential for abuse and addiction. Federal and Texas officials control and monitor narcotic prescription medications from their manufacturer through their distribution to retail facilities like pharmacies. Historically, most of the controlled substance diversion is found at the retail/consumer level.
In 2012, the Texas Department of Public Safety launched an online prescription monitoring database restricted to healthcare professionals and law enforcement. This new program, called “Prescription Access in Texas,” gives immediate online access to a database of controlled substances dispensed to patients. This online drug monitoring program allows doctors and pharmacists to access the information they need to identify possible prescription drug abusers and prescription traffickers before they are defrauded into dispensing the drugs. Law enforcement’s access to this information is often used to investigate pharmacists, pharmacies, and doctors whom they suspect are unlawfully selling prescription drugs for money alone, rather than for legitimate medical purposes.
This has made the news in recent years with hundreds of doctors, pharmacists, technicians, and others being charged for illegal practices in licensed pain clinics, also referred to as “pill mills.”
At Schiffer Law Firm, we have extensive experience in dealing with the unfortunate addict, as well as doctors, pharmacists, and other innocent targets of Federal and Texas state investigators who believe that numbers alone tell the entire story.
Our prescription fraud defense attorneys will zealously defend your rights. Whether you are struggling with a prescription drug addiction, and have been charged with “doctor shopping,” or are a pharmacist or doctor targeted or arrested in an investigation for prescribing drugs without a valid medical reason, talk to us, confidentially. Our experience as Texas prescription fraud defense attorneys has given us a team of resources, and the ability to fight back as hard as the prosecution is pushing for you to be another statistic in the war against drugs.
Experience and knowledge are the most effective weapons in the courtroom to have your case dismissed, charges reduced, or successfully tried to a jury. With over 45 years of combined legal experience as aggressive and persuasive prescription fraud defense attorneys in Houston, Texas, we will fight to get the best results for you.
In both Texas and in the Federal sentencing scheme, as the amount of drug weight increases so does the sentence length. At some arbitrary weight, an individual prosecutor may decide that the quantity seized reflects an intent to distribute, resulting in even higher penalties. This would be considered drug trafficking, or possession with the intent to distribute.
Across the United States, the average citizen easily distinguishes between possession of drugs for personal use and selling drugs for profit. Hardcore prosecutors in Federal court and in Texas love to raise their voices demanding lengthy prison sentences for persons accused of drug trafficking, sale, distribution, or possessing with the intent to distribute drugs, even if that was not the intent of the accused. The sentencing provisions in both Federal court and Texas courts share the same formula: the more drugs – the more prison time.
Drugs are classified into schedules, factoring in medicinal use, addictive nature, and capacity for abuse. Heroin, crystal meth, and cocaine are commonly prosecuted illicit drugs. With a significant rise in fatal overdoses due to illegal trade and trafficking of prescription medication, both Federal and Texas state law enforcement agencies target distribution rings as well as individuals making street sales.
Mandatory minimum prison sentences exist at both the Federal and Texas state courts depending on the particular drug and its weight. Significantly, persons charged in Federal court can face mandatory minimum prison sentences when the actual weight seized is less than the amount designated by the statute if proof exists that relevant conduct attributable to the accused puts it over that minimum amount. A situation like that is exactly why qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyers with experience in both the Harris County District Attorney’s office and the United States Attorney’s Office, and who are not afraid of the courtroom, can make the difference.
The attorneys at Schiffer Law Firm know how prosecutors build cases. Our knowledge and experience enable us to look for weaknesses and to build a defense to exploit them. Possible defenses to a drug trafficking charge may be the illegality of the initial traffic stop, the taking of a confession, the sufficiency of the evidence / how the drugs are linked to you, duress, entrapment, mistaken identity, and wrong place wrong time, among others.
While the accusation of being a drug dealer is bad enough, being convicted of sales, distributing, or trafficking of drugs is infinitely worse. The life altering consequences of a conviction are devastating, potentially including lengthy prison sentences, hefty fines, and possible forfeiture of your most valuable possessions.
Experience and knowledge are the most effective weapons in the courtroom to have your case dismissed, charges reduced, or successfully tried to a jury. With over 45 years of combined legal experience as aggressive and persuasive drug crimes defense attorneys, we will fight aggressively to get the best results for you. Call us today for a free case evaluation.