You might not think that giving Xanax to a stressed-out friend or popping someone else’s painkillers is even a crime. They are legal, after all. That is true—to a point.
Although Nebraska doesn’t have a sharing prescription drugs law, the state’s existing drug laws make the distribution of narcotics illegal.
If you have charges stemming from sharing prescription drugs, you might not know where to turn.
You will need a tough and aggressive defense lawyer like Tom Petersen to protect your rights and give you the best chance of achieving a favorable outcome.
Is Sharing Prescription Drugs a Felony?
Nebraska law 28-416 prohibits distributing, dispensing, and delivering narcotics without legal authority.
That means unless you cannot give—let alone sell—someone any prescription medication unless you are a medical professional duly licensed by the state of Nebraska and have a DEA Registration number.
Even giving a person one prescription pill is a crime under this law. Moreover, simple possession of a controlled substance without having a valid prescription written by a medical professional is a felony unless the substance is marijuana.
The legal consequences of sharing prescription drugs are severe. You face a felony charge if you violate this law, and the severity of the charge depends on the type of medication you share.
For instance, you face a Class II felony if you share a prescription drug found in Schedules I, II, or III, and the drug is defined as extremely hazardous. A conviction for a Class II felony has a minimum prison sentence of one year, but the maximum can be as high as 50 years behind bars.
If the drug falls into Schedule I, II, or III but is not a hazardous drug, you face a Class IIA felony. There is no minimum prison term involved, but you could get as much as 20 years for this level of offense.
Finally, sharing a prescription drug that is a Schedule IV or V drug is a Class IIIA felony. There is no minimum prison sentence, and the maximum is three years.
However, if the judge sentences you to prison time, you will have between nine and 18 months of supervised release after you get out.
Enhanced Penalty for Sharing Prescription Drugs
The penalties increase if aggravating factors are present.
For example, suppose an adult shares prescription drugs on or near school grounds with a person under 18. In that case, those circumstances are considered aggravating factors and will result in an enhanced felony charge.
Having prior convictions for drug crimes also increases the amount of time you could spend in prison. Also, possession of a firearm while distributing narcotics, even prescription drugs, increases the potential prison time you could serve.
Your potential sentence for sharing prescription drugs also depends on your previous criminal history, the number of pills you shared, and other factors.
Additional Consequences of Sharing Prescription Drugs
Police have a difficult time investigating the distribution of prescription medications. Some people sell prescription drugs for money on the street, just as they would sell heroin or cocaine.
However, individuals who share their medicine might not do it to turn a profit. Rather, they might share their prescription pills at a party or among friends. This behavior usually flies under the radar until someone overdoses.
Prescription drugs are potent, especially medications containing opiates. Benzodiazepines like Xanax are potent too. Taking them without appropriate medical care can cause overdoses, which could sometimes be fatal.
Accidental overdoses occur far too often. As their tolerance builds, users take more and more pills to chase that unattainable feeling they experienced the very first time they got high.
Unfortunately, these drugs get less effective over time and will never make them feel as good as they did the first time they took it. But some people continue to take more and more in an effort to get that feeling back.
Before too long, they overdo it, go into cardiac arrest, stop breathing, and need of emergency medical treatment. At that point, someone has to call for help. It is at this stage that police typically become involved.
At one time, officers might have just chalked an overdose up to an accident. But now, law enforcement agencies vigorously pursue the source of the drugs that caused an overdose.
How Can Tom Petersen Help You?
You have legitimate cause for concern if you face charges from sharing prescription medication.
Nebraska drug crimes lawyer Tom Petersen has handled over 6,000 cases in his career. Each case is unique, but with so many under his belt the chances are good that he’s seen a case similar to yours.
Tom relies on his extensive legal experience to understand the best strategy for success in your case.
Tom won’t back down from a fight, and he will do whatever it takes to get the best outcome for you. If that means challenging police conduct, fighting for an acquittal at trial, or negotiating a plea deal, you will always benefit from Tom’s passion for defending people’s rights.
Contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law Today
Tom Petersen and his dedicated team with Petersen Criminal Defense Law are ready to help you.
If the police arrest you for violating Nebraska’s sharing prescription drugs law, call right now to get the help you so need.
With Attorney Tom Petersen on your side, you know you have a lawyer who will not judge you, will not lecture you, but will defend your rights to the fullest extent of the law. Call 402-509-8070 or go online to schedule a free, confidential consultation.