Pop Quiz: Which of These Scenarios Can Land You in Jail?
Today’s drug laws seem to be in constant flux. Depending on which side of a state line you stand, you might be commended or arrested for the same act. This leaves many wondering exactly what is legal and what could put them in handcuffs.
Try your hand at this quiz; see if you can correctly identify which of the following scenarios lead to potential jail time.
Becky is sitting on the sidewalk, nodding in and out of consciousness. A patrol officer notices her and decides to check things out. When it’s all said and done, Becky gets caught with a handful of non-prescribed Xanax in her pocket.
Potential jail. Prescription drug overdose has become an epidemic in the US. Law enforcement officials take this crime seriously. Becky could face significant fines and jail time. The consequences vary depending on which drug, the quantity and in which state the crime occurs. However, even a single pill has the potential to get Becky locked up.
Nicole’s painkiller prescription ran out. Her doctor wouldn’t give her more, so she found another who would. When asked if she had received any similar prescriptions from other physicians, she lied. As Nicole’s addiction escalated, she continued this process, hopping from doctor to doctor to get her next fix.
Potential jail. Nicole’s fraudulent actions are known as “doctor shopping.” This practice of manipulating the system to obtain controlled substances is illegal and is punishable by time in prison.
Geoff suffers from chronic back pain. He thinks he needs something stronger than the daily ibuprofen he’s been taking. His doctor disagrees and recommends that Geoff try yoga. Geoff gets a second opinion to see if narcotic painkillers could be a better option.
No jail. Geoff’s actions are not doctor shopping. He has every right to get a second opinion for his chronic pain issues.
Hank spends the family reunion drinking like a fish. By the end of the night, he’s blackout drunk and gets in an argument with his cousin, Ted. Things get heated, and he takes a swing at Ted.
Potential jail. Hank may try for an “intoxication defense,” but this generally doesn’t fly. If the person assaulted presses charges, the defender may face jail time. Laws vary by state, but, typically, being inebriated does not provide excuse for hitting a family member (or assaulting anyone, for that matter.) And, even if a judge or jury goes for the “blackout” excuse, Hank could be convicted of lesser charges, but still go to jail.
After being charged with DUI, Jim enters a court-mandated rehab program. Four days into his mandatory 90-day stay, he decides to leave early.
Potential jail. If rehab is court-ordered, leaving early is a direct violation. If the rehab was intended as an alternative to jail the first time, the court might not be so generous the second time.
Christie goes out for a night on the town with girlfriends. After an extensive pub crawl, she is wasted. Barely able to function, she picks up the phone and calls an Uber driver to take her home.
No jail. Being super drunk is not a crime in itself (as long as you’re 21 and over). Christie’s condition may be annoying to the Uber driver, but she is actually avoiding a crime (DUI), not committing one.
Additional Reading: Should We Offer Suboxone in Jails and Prisons?
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