You may think that you're doing a good deed if you send your spare anxiety meds to your sister while she's going through a divorce, or your unused migraine meds to your cousin, whose insurance won't cover them—but that's breaking some big laws and can land you (and the recipient) in serious trouble. Before you try it, this is what you need to know.

The US Postal Service Doesn't Allow It

About the only people who can legally use the U.S. Postal Service to mail drugs to someone is a pharmacy or someone returning drugs to that pharmacy. Everyone else who does it (and it's done a lot) is committing a crime. Because the mail service has been so historically easy to abuse when it comes to the delivery of drugs, federal authorities are starting to take a serious look at what's going through the mail these days. While the intention is to stop large drug dealers from sending their clients drugs through the mail, people who don't realize they're committing a crime are bound to be caught up in the process.

For example, if you live in a state that allows recreational marijuana, you might be enthusiastic enough about a particular blend or product to want to send some to your best friend who lives in another town. Even though the drugs are legal in your state, they aren't legal under federal law.

While first-class mail is generally protected against warrantless searches, some drugs—like marijuana and other narcotics—can be picked up right through the packaging by drug-sniffing dogs. Having a drug-sniffing dog alert on your package is enough to get a warrant and allow the police to open it.

Your Recipient Could Also Be Arrested

Instead of opening the package, the police may choose to simply X-ray it and allow it to go to its destination. Once it's picked up by the intended recipient, the packaged can be opened. The courts have generally upheld the use of what is called an "anticipatory" warrant based on anticipated criminal action, such as the receipt of drugs through the mail. 

If you sent the drugs unannounced, the recipient will likely be okay. However, if there's any indication in the package that your recipient knew that you were sending the drugs—like a note—he or she can also be arrested.

The Penalties Are Severe

Since most drugs are considered toxic, most people are charged for actions like these under the federal statute that's used for sending poisonous materials through the mail, which mean a federal sentence if you're convicted. That can lead to as many as twenty years in prison. If the recipient of the drugs takes them and dies—even from a simple allergic reaction—the possible penalty for the mailer is life in prison or death.

If you do accidentally make a mistake and mail drugs to a relative to a relative or friend without realizing that you were violating federal law, talk to law firms like Law Office Of Les Downs.