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FAQ: Prescription drug laws

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2017 | blog

Most people are aware of the dangers of possessing or distributing illegal drugs. Even something like marijuana, which some states decriminalized but is only acceptable for medical use in Virginia, can land a person in hot water. 

Although prescription medications are legal, there are certain restrictions. Unfortunately, many people abuse prescription drugs, which results in severe health problems and can end in arrest. Virginians need to be aware of the law, and people typically ask criminal defense attorneys the same questions about the issue. 

Q: Can a person drive while taking medications? 

A: People should never operate a vehicle while under the influence of any over-the-counter or legal prescription drug until and unless they know how the drug may affect them. Certain medications can make a driver drowsy, dizzy or nauseous. In the event a person needs to carry prescription medications with him or her in a car, they should keep them in the original container. Police officers can arrest drivers if they are carrying prescription drugs and cannot prove the prescription is for them. 

Q: If a doctor in another state prescribed marijuana, then can that person have it in Virginia?

A: Doctors in Virginia can prescribe marijuana as long as it is to treat a medical condition, such as glaucoma. Many tourists visiting the state wonder if they can have marijuana in Virginia even though the prescription came from another state. The short answer is, “Yes.” However, the person in question needs to have proof of the prescription readily available whenever he or she goes out. 

Q: What are the consequences of possessing illegal prescription medications? 

A: If police find prescription drugs on a individual who does not possess a prescription for that medication, he or she could face criminal charges, time in jail and hefty fines. Many common types of prescriptions, such as Xanax and Valium, qualify as Schedule IV controlled substances. A first offense for possessing a Schedule IV drug includes a fine up to $1,000 or jail time up to a maximum of six months. Both could even occur. Therefore, anyone arrested for possessing prescription medication should consult with a lawyer.