Most drug charges will fall under one of the following charges:
- Possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of prescription drugs
Certain illicit and prescription drugs are defined as "controlled substances" on both the state and federal levels, meaning that their possession, distribution and use are controlled by law. All nonprescription drugs are considered illegal, and persons found in possession of these substances will be subject to criminal prosecution. Prescription drugs, on the other hand, can only be lawfully possessed when they are prescribed. When people are found to have medications without prescription, they can be charged with possession of a controlled substance or unlawful possession of prescription medication. Penalties for this charge vary based on many variables, but they carry a minimum fine of a $315 and a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail for a first offense. Second or subsequent charges carry enhanced penalties. They can also result in driver's license revocations.
- Penalties for manufacture, delivery, possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance in Iowa (state law violation)
A class B, C or D felony accompanies this type of charge depending on the substance and quantity involved. Certain substances carry mandatory minimum prison sentences and many have probation as a minimum consequence. Penalties include fines ranging from $7,500 to a $1 million and a maximum sentence of up to 50 years in prison with one year minimum.
- Forgery or alteration of prescription or use of fraud to obtain a controlled substance
The law in Iowa bars any person from "altering a prescription or obtaining or attempting to obtain a prescription medication through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge." Altering a doctor's prescription can be charged as a felony and carry up to a 10-year prison sentence. These cases typically involve:
- Rewritten prescriptions
- Stolen prescription pads
- Called-in fraudulent prescriptions to pharmacies
Federal Drug Sentences
While the federal sentencing guidelines are no longer considered mandatory, they are the starting point for all sentencing decisions a judge will make. The sentencing range in these cases is extremely broad and severe, with a maximum sentence of thousands of dollars in fines and up to life in prison.
If you or a loved one has been charged with any of the above, it is imperative to reach out to a Des Moines criminal law attorney.
To discuss the types of drug crimes in Iowa with one of our lawyers at Culp, Doran & Genest, P.L.C., call 515-288-3333 or email the firm.