Sharing Prescription Drugs

Sharing prescription drugs with friends and family members is dangerous and against the law. Before handing out single pills or an entire bottle, study the health and criminal repercussions associated with sharing prescription drugs.

Health consequences

Photo by: Dawn McIlvain Stahl

Photo by: Dawn McIlvain Stahl

When a prescription is written out for a patient, the doctor has the patient’s vitals as well as their medical records to be certain that the prescription is safe for them to consume. When a prescription is shared, there is no way for the patient or the person with whom they are sharing prescription drugs with to ensure no unforeseen reactions of complications. Even without abuse amounts, sharing prescription drugs with a family member or a friend could unknowingly end their life.

Enabling an addiction

US code 21-829 states “It shall be unlawful for any person to distribute a controlled substance in schedule I or II to another except in pursuance of a written order of the person to whom such substance is distributed […]” Sharing prescription drugs can bring criminal penalties, especially if they are considered highly addictive. The reason for this is their higher potential to cause dependency problems and the fact that they are very often abused. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, prescription drug abuse kills about 20,000 people every year. This number is roughly the same amount that is killed from illegal drugs such as meth and heroin.

Charges for sharing prescription drugs

Many prescriptions are considered controlled substances because of how addictive they are. When sharing prescription drugs, the generous friend can face charges for distribution while the needy friend may be looking at possession charges for having a prescription not in their name. For help with current charges stemming from sharing prescription drugs, call a criminal defense attorney.

Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

All citizens of the United States have the right to feel secure in knowing that their home and personal belongings are not subject to unreasonable searches and seizures.

Protection for the people

Photo by: Chuck Coker

Photo by: Chuck Coker

The Fourth Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. “ The Fourth Amendment is there to protect the people from searches that are unjust and unreasonable.

When is a search unreasonable?

Unless a warrant is provided, a search is considered unreasonable if it violates a person’s privacy. Things considered private can include a residence, vehicle, private property, or clothing. There are often times when obtaining search warrants are not needed in order to conduct a search. These loopholes regularly exercised by law enforcement can include:

• Verbal permission is given to do a search by the person who the property or possessions

• Illegal or dangerous items can be seen easily without having to search the property

• There is reason to believe that an immediate threat to another’s well-being is at stake

• Enough probable cause is noted to conduct a search

Common incidents of illegal searches

Whether it’s working on a hunch or trying to meeting quota, there are officers out there who are merely hoping to find a reason to make an arrest. Unfortunately, many citizens see police as someone of superior authority who outranks the common civilian and they tend to not speak up when their belongings are gone through without a valid reason. A few incidents where these unreasonable searches and seizures are more likely to take place are:

• Searching the trunks and vehicles during routine traffic stops

• Going outside the permitted areas of a search warrant

• Entering an unlocked home, garage or vehicle

• Pat downs of random law abiding pedestrians

Questionable Violation of Fourth Amendment rights

Occasionally citizens may believe that they have been a victim of unreasonable searches and seizures, when the judge may not agree with their assessment. A hit in run case involving a young woman named Chelse Marie Brierley of Layton Utah was almost dismissed when it appeared that her Fourth Amendment rights had been violated. Following the hit and run, police were able to track Brierley down to her residence and while at her home they entered uninvited through the front door that was left open by the Brierley’s housekeeper. Although they were not invited to enter the residence, during the time that they were in the house nothing was searched. However because these officers entered the home unlawfully, Brierley assumed she was a victim of unreasonable searches and seizures. It was determined last week that none of the evidence in her case was obtained while officers were in her home so the charges against her for the hit and run were not dismissed.

Charges and evidence acquired during unreasonable searches and seizures

Photo by: Copper Kettle

Photo by: Copper Kettle

Not all cases fighting unreasonable searches and seizures turn out to be naught. If there is any indication that the charged person is in fact a victim of a Fourth Amendment violation, it is imperative to speak to counsel before getting any admittance of guilt on record. It is possible that the charges could be dropped entirely. If a judge rules that the charged person was a victim of unreasonable searches and seizures, then all evidence for the case that was derived because of that illegal search is invalid and will not be submitted in court. Not only is the evidence directly obtained during the search no longer submissible, but any information or items obtained because of the knowledge obtained during the illegal search and seizure is also unusable to the prosecution. In other words, if the source of the info is tainted, then so is everything that came because of it. If you are concerned that your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately before moving forward with your case.

Recreational Drones Spotted Over Utah Prison

Recreational drones have been spotted flying above penitentiaries around the United States, with the most recent spotting occurring over the Draper Utah prison.

Drug smuggling drones

Photo by: Doctor Popular

Photo by: Doctor Popular

A  guard caught sight of recreational drones flying over one of the outdoor yard areas for inmates at the Draper Utah prison . The yard was shut down and all inmates ordered inside while prison personnel made sure that nothing dangerous or illegal was dropped. The concern for recreational drones doing more than viewing may stem from incidents around the United States where similar drones were used to smuggle drugs or tobacco into prisons.

Illegal and improper use

In addition to using drones to intentionally break the law, many hobbyists are not following the guidelines set in place for the unmanned aircraft systems. Like any vehicle or aircraft, recreational drones have rules such as:

• Keeping the drone visible to the operator

• Staying away from people

• staying under the 55 lb. weight limit

• Not flying for a profit and

• Flying safely, not recklessly

Restricted Areas

There are also restricted areas where recreational drone use is prohibited such as:

• National Parks

• Airports

• Military sites

• Above 400 feet

• Prisons

Besides recreational drones being flown over restricted areas, they have also been spotted by firefighters battling wildfires and by residents who are concerned over privacy matters. Recreational drone owners need to remember common sense and common courtesy when operating a unmanned aircraft system.

FAA penalties for recreational drones

According to the Federal Aviation Association, “Hobby or recreational flying doesn’t require FAA approval but you must follow safety guidelines.” They also state that “Unauthorized drone operators may be subject to fines of up to $25,000 and up to 20 years in jail.” For legal counsel regarding illegal use of recreational drones, contact a criminal defense attorney.