FAQ - Prescription Drug Offenses

Q. What kind of prescription drug crimes are there in Ohio?
A. Prescription drug abuse has increased greatly in Central Ohio, and therefore, so has the frequency of prescription drug offenses. Penalties in prescription drug cases have also increased in an effort to reduce the amount of illegal prescription use. An individual may face several types of prescription drug charges, including Deception to Obtain Dangerous Drugs, Illegal Processing of Drug Documents, Illegal Dispensing of Drug Samples, and Forgery. The penalties surrounding these charges vary according to the level of the offense.

Q. What is Deception to Obtain Dangerous Drugs, and what are the penalties associated with it?
A. In Ohio, it is illegal to obtain a dangerous drug, or a prescription for a dangerous drug, by deception. This charge usually occurs in cases where an individual obtains prescriptions from multiple doctors for a controlled drug. The level of the offense and penalties for this charge depends on the category and amount of the drug.

For cases with drugs categorized as Schedule III, Schedule IV and Schedule V, the levels range from a fifth degree felony (which carries a sentence up to one year in prison), to a second degree felony (which carries a sentence up to eight years in prison). For cases with drugs categorized as Schedule I and Schedule II, the levels range from a fourth degree felony (which carries a sentence up to 18 months in prison), to a first degree felony (which carries a sentence up to eleven years in prison). Ohio law makes it a crime to possess an uncompleted pre-printed blank prescription. This crime is a fifth degree felony, and can carry a sentence up to one year in prison.

Any person convicted of Deception to Obtain Dangerous Drugs in Ohio will face a mandatory driver’s license suspension up to five years, and possible probation for up to five years.

Q. What is the charge of Illegal Processing of Drug Documents, and what are the penalties associated with it?
A. In Ohio, it is illegal to:

  • make a false statement in a prescription
  • make sell or possess a fake or forged prescription
  • acquire a prescription by theft, or
  • make or affix a false or forged label to anything containing a dangerous drug

The level of the offense, and penalties for this charge, depend upon the category of the offense, the amount of the drug, and the manner in which the offense was carried out. Charges range from a fifth degree felony (which carries a sentence up to one year in prison), to a fourth degree felony (which carries a sentence up to 18 months in prison).

Any person convicted of Illegal Processing of Drug Documents in Ohio will face a mandatory driver’s license suspension up to five years, and possible probation for up to five years.

Q. What is the charge of Illegal Dispensing of Drug Samples, and what are the penalties associated with it?
A. In Ohio, it is illegal to furnish another person with a sample drug. The level of the offense and penalties for this charge depends on the category and the amount of the drug involved. Charges range from a first degree misdemeanor (up to six months in jail), a fifth degree felony (up to 12 months in prison), or a fourth degree felony (up to 18 months in prison).

Any person convicted of Illegal Dispensing of Drug Samples in Ohio will face a mandatory driver’s license suspension up to five years and possible probation for up to five years.

Q: What is the charge of Forgery, and what are the penalties associated with it?
A: In Ohio, it is illegal to do any of the following with the purpose to defraud: 1) forge any writing of another person without that person’s authority; 2) forge any writing so it purports to be genuine, when it actually is spurious; and 3) utter, or possess with purpose to utter, any writing the person knows to have been forged.

Typically, Forgery in Ohio is a fifth degree felony, which carries a possible prison sentence of up to one year, and probation up to five years. Unlike the other prescription drugs charges, Forgery does not involve a mandatory driver’s license suspension.

Q. How can I fight a prescription drug charge?
A. There are two primary strategies that an experienced criminal defense attorney will use to defend a prescription drug charge. The first is to use a diversion program or intervention in lieu of conviction. The second is to examine the prosecution’s evidence, and present a defense against the charge through the court process, including hearings in front of the court, and if need be, a trial.

Attorney For Prescription Drug Cases In Columbus And Central Ohio

Shawn Dominy is a criminal defense lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, and he represents clients charged with prescription drug offenses. To learn more about Shawn Dominy, please see his attorney profile. You can also see recent case results and client reviews. If you would like to discuss how Shawn Dominy can help with your prescription drug charge in Columbus or central Ohio, please call 614-717-1177 or email the Dominy Law Firm to arrange a free consultation.