If the following sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. This story, in one variation or another, has played out countless times across the country in recent years. You have a prescription for pain medication, or another controlled substance. Your sister/friend/mom/co-worker appears to be suffering from the same thing you are so you offer to give him/her some of your medication. Sometime after that you are arrested for trafficking a controlled substance, leaving you wondering “Can I be arrested for trafficking in Nebraska if I have a prescription?” The short answer is “yes.”
The days of being able to give a friend a Valium without worrying about it are long gone in the United States. Anyone who regularly takes medication that is classified as a controlled substance should have a very firm understanding of the laws that apply to the possession, distribution, and delivery of a controlled substance because failing to understand those laws could land you in prison for a very long time.
First, you should know whether the medication you have been prescribed is considered a controlled substance. If you are unsure, ask your physician or just assume that it is to be on the safe side. “Sharing” medication is never a good idea; however, “sharing” a controlled substance is more than unwise – it is illegal. The fact that you have a prescription is not a defense if you sell, give, or otherwise deliver your controlled substance to another person.
Nebraska Revised Statutes 28-416 governs controlled substances, and begins as follows:
“Except as authorized by the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, it shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally: (a) To manufacture, distribute, deliver, dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, deliver, or dispense a controlled substance; or (b) to create, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute a counterfeit controlled substance.”
The Uniform Controlled Substance Act, or UCSA, allows an individual to possess a controlled substance if the individual has a valid prescription. The UCSA does not allow anyone to distribute, deliver, or dispense a controlled substance simply because they have a prescription. Therefore, you could be convicted of distributing, delivering, or dispensing – the equivalent of trafficking – a controlled substance if you share, give, loan, or sell, even a single one of your pills. Depending on the type of controlled substance involved, you may be charged with either a Class II felony or a Cass IIA felony. A Class II felony in Nebraska carries a minimum of one year and a maximum of 50 years in prison while a Class IIA felony carries no minimum and a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.
If you have been charged with trafficking a controlled substance, or any other controlled substance offense, in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.