There are many people that suffer injuries or have other medical conditions that can cause people a great amount of pain. When people go to the doctor to treat the injuries and illnesses, they are often given some type of pain killer medication to ease the pain. Many of these drugs are opioid based and are very effective at relieving pain. However, they can also be very addicting as well and many people develop addictions to them while using them with a prescription. These addictions can last many years past when the prescription ends.
People who use these pain killers after their prescription ends or use them without ever having a valid prescription risk being charged with drug possession. These charges can lead to significant penalties especially if it is not their first offense.
If it is a first-time offense, people may be put in jail for up to one year. They could also be fined $70 and put on probation. One of the conditions of probation could be another fine of $1,000 or the person must complete community service. If it is a second offense the person could be put in jail for 16 months, or two or three years. In addition to this they could be put on probation and fined $2,000 or be required to perform community service in lieu of that fine.
There may be defenses to these charges though. One is if the stop or search of people is done illegally all the evidence may be thrown out and convictions become very unlikely. Another potential defense is that the person was simply holding onto the pain killers for another person who had a valid prescription or were disposing of the pain killer for a person with a valid prescription.
Addictions to pain killers are becoming more common in California. These addictions many times start with a valid prescription, but continue well afterward. People who are caught possessing painkillers without a prescription face serious consequences, which can also have an effect on other aspects of their lives besides just the direct criminal consequences. Understanding the defenses can be very important and consulting with an experienced attorney could be beneficial.