Nurse gets probation in pill-stealing case

An Illinois nurse who pleaded guilty to taking drugs that were meant for nursing home residents was sentenced on Dec. 6 to complete two years of probation, attend a substance abuse program and do 30 hours of community service. The woman had earlier entered a guilty plea to a charge of unlawfully acquiring a controlled substance on Nov. 30.

Officers with the Illinois State Police said that the woman was working as a nurse in Eureka at Maple Lawn Healthcare. She reported that she had given hydrocodone and alprazolam to residents on Sept. 4. An investigation by the Medicaid fraud unit of the Illinois State Police found video evidence that reportedly showed she did not give the drugs to the residents.

The woman then reportedly admitted to falsifying the medication logs of the residents in order to try to cover up her taking of the pills. It is unclear from the news sources whether the 32-year-old woman will be able to keep her nursing license or if the conviction will make her lose it.

Drug charges can result in serious consequences, including the possibility of incarceration. People who are charged with drug offenses might benefit by getting help from a criminal defense attorney who could seek the suppression of the evidence through motions hearings, negotiate with the prosecutor to try to secure reduced charges or work to get a probationary sentence in lieu of incarceration for the client. If the client wishes to fight the case through a trial before a jury, the lawyer may work to build a strong case.

Source: NBC Chicago, "Illinois nurse sentenced for taking drugs meant for patients," Dec. 7, 2016

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