Criminal charges related to unlawful possession of prescription drugs in Missouri are not to be taken lightly, even for first-time offenders. Illegally possessing prescription drugs in Missouri could come with steep fines and long periods of incarceration. Anyone accused of possession of prescription drugs in Missouri must consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect their freedom and future. An astute and diligent felony defense attorney in Missouri will ensure a defendant’s rights are protected; devise viable defenses and most importantly fight the charges wholeheartedly to secure the best possible results for the defendant.
Missouri Laws On Possession of Prescription Drugs
Missouri has tough drug laws that regulate the possession and use of prescription drugs for purposes of curbing the menace of unlawful possession and misuse of prescription-only drugs. Possession of prescription drugs without a valid medical prescription for such medication can result in serious consequences for persons found guilty. The offense of possession of prescription drugs in Missouri without a legitimate medical prescription is considered a Class C felony which is punishable by imprisonment for up to 7 years and fines depending on the circumstances of the case. See Missouri Sentencing Guidelines.
Furthermore, Missouri drug laws consider it illegal for a person to be in possession of prescription drugs knowing they have been obtained as a result of a prescription order made, altered or signed by a person other than an authorized practitioner or a mid-level practitioner within the state. It’s also illegal to be in possession of prescription drugs with the intent to distribute to another person such as a friend or any other person who does not have a valid prescription for such medication.
There are various legal risks that are associated with possession of prescription-only drugs in certain circumstances. Missouri laws require that all prescription drugs must be kept in the original prescription container. In circumstances when they cannot be kept in the original container, a person is obligated to provide prove of valid medical prescription.
A person can be charged with a Class D felony for fraudulently attempting to obtain prescription drugs in Missouri. This includes providing false information to a practitioner with the purpose of obtaining prescription drugs, falsely claiming to be an authorized physician or practitioner, and forging prescription drug labels.
Possession of prescription medications in protected areas in Missouri
The penalties for the possession of prescription drugs with the intent to distribute in protected areas in Missouri are extremely severe. According to Missouri drug laws, a person commits a Class A felony if he or she is in possession of prescription drugs with the intent of distributing in, on, or within 2, 000 feet of real property comprising a public or private school, college, university, or any school bus or in, on, or within 1, 000 feet of real property comprising a public park or in or on the real property comprising public housing or government assisted housing.
However, under section 579.155 of Missouri laws, possession of prescription drugs on school property is punishable differently for persons under twenty-one years of age. First-time offenders under this category can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor while second and subsequent offenders can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.
Drug treatment program
In some cases, non-violent first-time offenders involved in possession of prescription drugs, particularly those with a drug problem may be spared incarceration and be given an opportunity to complete a drug treatment program. Offenders placed under a drug treatment program in Missouri may be required to attend counseling, submit to random drug testing, and participate in vocational programs. Offenders who complete the program successfully without violating any rules will not serve a jail term.