Illegally obtained prescription drugs have been the center of a U.S. epidemic since the 2010s. The abuse of prescription medications is now common and widespread throughout the United States. The criminal penalties vary based on the type of prescription drug and are taken seriously in West Virginia.
State charges and convictions
Each drug is classified in a schedule classification from Schedule I to Schedule V, which varies depending on the severity of the drug addiction. The criminal charges for using, possessing or distributing prescription drugs vary based on the type of schedule classification, the amount of substance in possession and the nature of the possession.
According to West Virginia legal codes, the possession of a controlled substance that is classified as Schedule I or II is a felony. A conviction results in a fine of up to $25,000, an imprisonment sentence from one year to 15 years or both.
Federal charges and convictions
In addition to state crimes, there are federal crimes attached to the use, manufacture, possession or distribution of prescription drugs. Trafficking is a federal offense with the most severe penalties. Federal drug charges are also included with the possession or distribution of prescription drugs. The penalties for drug possession include a fine of $1,000 or more, one year or longer in prison or both. The severity of the penalties increase if the drugs result in death or bodily injury.
The legal consequences of prescription drug offenses
There are different types of prescription drug offenses from trafficking to manufacturing. State governments and the federal government have laws that are applied to the illegal use, possession or distribution of prescription drugs.