What are the Punishments for Stealing Prescription Drugs in New Jersey?
October 10, 2019
Unfortunately, becoming addicted to prescription drugs can having a devastating impact on your life financially, which often leads to stealing prescriptions that you simply can’t afford. Not everyone who steals prescription drugs starts off as an addict. In fact, people often steal prescription drugs out of desperation. They may have had or continue to suffer from a serious medical condition, illness, or injury that resulted in a valid prescription for opioids or other pain relievers, stimulants like Ritalin, or depressant drugs like Xanax, and they may have gotten hooked on those types of drugs as a result of their treatment. Other individuals may have received prescription drugs from family members to help them address pain resulting from their jobs, age, or other factors, again resulting in an addiction that may quickly spiral out of control. Your problems can get increasingly worse if you end up arrested and charged with a prescription drug theft related crime, which carries serious penalties in New Jersey. If you have been charged with stealing prescriptions or pills in Union County, call (908) 838-0150 for immediate assistance from an experienced attorney. We provide free consultations 24/7 and will be happy to answer all of your questions and discuss the particulars of your case.
How do Prescription Drug Theft Crimes Happen?
Some individuals steal prescription drugs directly from clinics, doctors, or nurses, physically removing the drugs from a hospital or pharmacy. These types of prescription drug theft offenses may be committed by patients, doctors, nurses, and medical staff, or random people who unlawfully enter or remain in a facility, often leading to additional charges for burglary. In addition, it is also all-too-common for people to steal prescription drugs from their family members, neighbors, fellow patients, or even co-workers. People may also steal mail that they believe contains prescription drugs, or may even resort to placing phony orders to pharmaceutical companies to secure the drugs they need. If you engage in any of these behaviors, you are at risk of severe legal consequences.
You Face Jail and Other Penalties if You Steal a Prescription Drug in NJ
There are numerous penalties that you may face for stealing someone else’s prescription drugs or having a prescription drug that isn’t yours. Possession of prescription drugs that were not prescribed to you, even just a pill or two, can expose you to severe penalties. Possession of four or fewer pills is a disorderly persons charge for which you may be sentenced to up to 6 months in the county jail. Possession of 5 pills or more or intent to distribute up to four prescription pills results in a fourth-degree indictable offense charge and you can face up to $10,000 in fines and 18 months in prison. If you possess more prescription pills that do not belong to you, you can be charged with a third-degree indictable offense that can result in 3-5 years in prison and up to $35,000 in fines, or even a second-degree indictable offense that can lead to ten years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars more in fines.
Moreover, stealing prescription pads, forms, blanks, or similar items is a third-degree offense that may result in fines even higher than $35,000 and up to 5 years in prison. And if you provide false information or otherwise commit fraud to obtain prescription drugs, you can similarly be charged with a third-degree indictable offense. Upon conviction, you may be sentenced to up to five years in prison along with heavy fines.
All of these crimes will result in a conviction on your criminal record. In fact, stealing prescriptions or prescription drugs is considered a felony in New Jersey.
What is New Jersey Doing about Prescription Drugs?
New Jersey is currently in the grip of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal took a dramatic step in August 2019 that underscores the scope of the crisis, when his office provided tens of thousands of dollars in grant funding to five major New Jersey cities, including Newark, Trenton, Toms River, Paterson, and Camden, to help first responders administer drugs like naloxone, respond to the scenes of overdoses, and deescalate overdose situations. When a state’s chief law enforcement officer takes this kind of action to combat addiction, it goes without saying that a tremendous number of people in the state must be suffering in the throes of prescription drug addiction.
Charged with Stealing Prescription Drugs in Union County, What Should I do?
If you have been arrested for prescription drug theft, stealing pads, forging a prescription, or another similar crime, facing these charges is a serious matter. You should obtain legal counsel and would likely benefit from a consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as close in time as possible to the date of your arrest or prescription drug charge.
Cranford Prescription Theft Defense Lawyers
Our attorneys defend clients charged with these crimes throughout Union County and New Jersey, and we are here to help. Contact us at (908) 838-0150 to receive an absolutely free consultation and discuss your legal options with a skilled attorney who knows the in’s and out’s of prescription drug laws and defense in New Jersey. You can also set up an appointment to meet with us at our local office in Cranford, NJ.