Skip to Content
Call Us Today! 614-707-4239

What Are Prescription Drug Charges?


When people think of charges related to illegal substances, generally, they think about marijuana, LSD, cocaine, or another similar substance. However, prescription drug charges may be more common than you’d think. In fact, according to the CDC in 2017, nearly 60% of U.S. adults aged 18–64 reported being prescribed medication in the past 12 months. Some of these drugs, such as certain opioids and painkillers, can lead to serious time behind bars.


Here’s what you need to know about prescription drug charges.


Definition of prescription drugs: A prescription drug is a pharmaceutical drug that requires a medical physician’s permission to be dispensed.


Prescription drug charges relate to the unauthorized use, distribution, sale, or possession of pharmaceutical drugs. These drugs are considered dangerous and have high consequences in part due to the addictiveness of them. Some of these drugs include Percocet, Vicodin, Oxycontin/Oxycodone, Xanax, Adderall, Soma, and more.


A medical professional or another individual can also be liable for the unauthorized possession, distribution, or sale of these drugs.


Before we describe penalties, it may help to clarify the severity of various drugs declared by the state of Ohio. Ohio has broken down their controlled substances into five schedules, schedule I being the most addictive and Schedule V being the least addictive or dangerous.

  • Schedule I: High potential for abuse and very addictive or dangerous. Examples include ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, and LSD.

  • Schedule II: High potential for abuse and dependence (physical or psychological), but some medical use. Examples include cocaine, Vicodin, methadone, oxycodone, Ritalin, methamphetamines, and fentanyl.

  • Schedule III: Potential for addiction rates as low to moderate with a similar risk of psychological and physical dependence. Examples include anabolic steroids, Tylenol with codeine, testosterone, and ketamine.

  • Schedule IV: Risk of addiction and danger is low. Examples include Darvon, Ambien, Xanax, Tramadol, Soma, Darvocet, Darvon, and Talwin.

  • Schedule V: Lowest potential for abuse and limited amounts of narcotic ingredients. Examples include various antidiarrheal, analgesic, and antitussive drugs, like Robitussin AC, Lyrica, Lomotil, Parapectolin, and more.

More info on these drugs and their schedules can be found at the State Of Ohio Board Of Pharmacy.

Below are some of the penalties you will find in Ohio for controlled substances and prescription drugs. It is important to note that each case’s penalties may vary and it could be crucial to consulate a lawyer for your specific situation.

Level of Offense

Maximum Fine

Jail or Prison Term

Minor misdemeanor



Misdemeanor of the fourth degree


30 days in jail

Misdemeanor of the third degree


60 days in jail

Misdemeanor of the second degree


90 days in jail

Misdemeanor of the first degree


Up to 180 days in jail

Felony of the fifth degree


6 to 12 months in prison

Felony of the fourth degree


6 to 18 months in prison

Felony of the third degree


(mandatory $5,000)

1 to 5 years in prison

Felony of the second degree


(mandatory $7,500)

2 to 8 years in prison

Felony of the first degree


(mandatory $10,000)

3 to 11 years in prison

Next Steps

If you have been charged with prescription drug charges, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible. At The Meranda Law Firm LTD we may be able to help your situation. Call (614) 707-4239 to set up an appointment today.