Arrested for Selling Prescription Medication in Indiana?

If you are arrested for selling your prescription medication in the state of Indiana, you need to know a few things – mainly, that there is a distinction between street drugs and prescription medications and how the weight of the drugs in question affects the severity of penalties.

According to the law, I.C. 38-48-4-2, the level of the felony charge is determined by the “weight of the drug” in grams. However, the actual “weight of the drug” is different than the weight of the pill or capsule that contains the prescription “drug”.

Prescription drugs are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. That makes prescription drugs different than drugs that are “cooked” at home or in a shack. When a pharmaceutical company manufactures prescription medication, the manufacturing process is controlled and regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. The amount of the specific drug, such as Adderrall, is precise down to the milligram.

During the manufacturing process, each individual pill or capsule that contains the prescription drug, is imprinted with a code to identify that particular prescription drug. For example, each capsule containing Adderrall that is manufactured by Activis Elizabeth LLC is imprinted with the code “R 3061.” This orange capsule weighs 444mg (nearly ½ a gram). Yet, only 30mg of that capsule’s weight is the prescription drug Adderrall.

In this example of Adderrall, let’s say the sale is for 25 capsules of “R 3061.” That makes the total weight of the capsules 11.1g. However, the combined weight of the prescription drug itself is only 0.75g. In other words, the actual weight of the Schedule II Controlled Substance does not even come up to 1 gram. Why does this matter? It matters greatly in terms of how ultimately, a defendant is sentenced for selling drugs. In the case described, the distinction is between being charged for a Level 3 Felony (if the entire weight of the drug was used to determine the drug charge) versus a Level 6 Felony. In terms of sentencing, the person accused is looking at a 9-year prison term versus only 1 year.

Recently, one of my clients faced charges of selling his own prescription drugs. He was overcharged for the alleged crimes involved and faced 9 years in prison. Among the charges was that of possession of cocaine. Not only did he not possess any cocaine, but also, law enforcement did not find any cocaine. For a case such as this, it’s not uncommon for a defendant to be overcharged in an attempt to make at least some of the charges stick. Because I researched the distinction between the weight of pharmaceutical drugs, how the drugs were handled as evidence, and took the time and energy to depose law enforcement involved in the arrest, I was able to have his charges greatly reduced and ultimately, have his case dismissed.

If you have questions about a matter that is pending before a court in Northeast Indiana or Northwest Ohio, contact Matt Chapel immediately. Call Matt at 260-387-6236 or email him at

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