It was like a scene from a movie.
Last December, a Greenfield police officer was staked out in front of a hotel after receiving a tip that someone was selling heroin out of a hotel room. The officer, who was actually working on a different investigation at the time, watched the hotel as a woman went and purchased drugs in that room and when she left the hotel and got into her car, the officer pulled her over. Sure enough, she possessed a quantity of heroin she said she purchased from a man named Mike in the hotel room.
Michael Ray King, age 54 of Milwaukee, was later charged in Milwaukee County Circuit Court with one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. If he’s convicted, King faces up to 7 ½ years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
But you don’t always have to have criminal mindset to be found guilty of the very same crime. Sharing prescription pain killers with a friend in need, for example, is also a felony.
One example I like to use is that, when people come into my office, they’ll say, “Well, I didn’t really deliver a controlled substance. I was just giving one to my friend because he was in pain. So that’s why I gave him a Vicodin.” Well, guess what? A delivery is a delivery. As I like to then tell them, “When you came in to my office I gave you a bottle of water, correct? You didn’t pay me but I still delivered, gave you a bottle of water.”
It works exactly the same way when we’re talking about the delivery of controlled substances. You might not have the intention of committing a crime like delivering a drug for payment but the act of giving the narcotic amounts to exactly the same thing. The exchange of cash or promise of doing so has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that a delivery was made.
It may sound completely harmless to give your friend a Vicodin or Oxycontin pill in a time of need but remember: you’re not a doctor or a pharmacist and you are simply not allowed to do that. What’s more, a person who is in possession of such a pill that was not prescribed for them is also committing a felony. If you are convicted of this crime you can be sent to prison.
The bottom line is this. There are precious few people who should be delivering any type of controlled substance. Doctors, pharmacists and dentists fall into this category. Remember, if you pass along that pain pill you are not doing your friend a favor. You are committing a felony. It might not look and feel like that movie scene where the drug dealer hustles his stash on the street corner but the end result is exactly the same. Your friend needs to get their medication with a proper prescription. Otherwise, you are both breaking the law.
About Attorney Mark Powers
Attorney Mark Powers is a partner at the criminal defense law firm of Huppertz & Powers, S.C. in Waukesha. Previously, Powers served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Waukesha County District Attorney's office and is currently serving as a municipal judge in North Prairie. He focuses in the area of criminal defense, and has handled many cases involving operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, domestic disputes, and drug offenses.
Powers attended Valparaiso University School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctorate. Prior to law school, Mark attended the University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse where he received his bachelor of science in Political Science.
For more information, please call 262.549.5979 or visit www.waukeshacriminalattorneys.com.