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Opiate Drug Crimes
In the late 1990s, prescription opiates seemed to manage pain without side effects. However, these highly addictive drugs led to serious misuse, ultimately leading to a nationwide opioid epidemic. Opioids refer to a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. They include illegal drugs such as heroin, as well as synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Other types of opioids include prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone. At our law offices, Riverside clients receive competent assistance fighting an opiate drug crimes charge. Working with your best interests in mind, Riverside opiate crime lawyer Gregory H. Comings tailors his defense strategy to the particulars of your case, providing compassionate and discrete representation.
Individuals can legally receive a prescription for opiates, however, abusing the prescription or acquiring opiates without prescription is a criminal offense. It is also a crime to possess illicit forms of opiates such as heroin. Drug offenses are charged based on California's Health and Safety Code. However, state drug laws adopt the federal classification system, set by the United States Controlled Substances Act. An offense may be charged by both the federal and state prosecutor, in certain situations.
Five different schedules or classes of narcotics exist; opiates and heroin are Schedule I and Schedule II drugs. This is because opiates have a high potential for abuse and have been deemed unsafe except when used under express written consent by a medical professional. Schedule I opioids include heroin, codeine, and fentanyl derivatives. Schedule II opioids include fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, and methadone.
Committing opiate drug crimes can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges. Speak to an opiate crime attorney in Riverside to learn more about these charges. It is against the law to knowingly possess drugs listed on the schedules, without a prescription. The amount of the drug in possession can affect charges, for example, you may be charged for simple possession or drug trafficking. For example, federal law holds that illegal possession of a controlled substance can lead to one year imprisonment and a minimum fine of $1,000.
Charges for possession with intent to distribute opioids carry serious consequences as a felony crime. If you have paraphernalia used to sell or distribute opioids, or are found with a large amount, you may face a penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a high fine. For example, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid more potent than morphine, is commonly added to heroin to increase its potency. The risk of death to users is high, and there is a risk to law enforcement as the drug can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Even a small amount can be deadly. A conviction for distribution of fentanyl can lead to at least five years, and not more than 40 years imprisonment and a fine not more than $5 million for an individual. An opiate crime lawyer in the Riverside area can help you with your case.
California's drug diversion program may be available to some qualifying offenders. Instead of prison, the defendant may be eligible for participation in a drug treatment program. Charges would be dismissed upon completion of the diversion program. This type of program may even be available to individuals with prior convictions, if certain conditions are met.
Individuals facing criminal charges for opiates drug crimes may be able to assert a legal defense. Defendants are entitled to receive constitutional protections, including protection against unreasonable search and seizure set forth in the Fourth Amendment. Law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion to conduct a search of a person, home, or vehicle for illegal prescription medications or other drugs. A lack of reasonable suspicion may be deemed a violation of your rights. An unjustified search may justify the exclusion of any evidence gathered by law enforcement. There may be other defense strategies to drug charges such as challenging the alleged weight or substance found.
A conviction for illegal possession of a controlled substance or other drug crimes can lead to serious fines, and incarceration. A lawyer experienced in criminal defense can help by reviewing the facts and explaining your options, as well as your consequences. Riverside attorney Gregory H. Comings is experienced in defending clients facing serious drug offense charges, and will focus his energy on securing you the best outcome possible for your case. At The Law Office of Gregory H.Comings, we provide a consultation regarding your case. Contact us today at (951) 686-3457 or reach us online.