Prescription Fraud - Health and Safety Code 11173
State and Federal drug crimes do not only refer to illegal drugs. They refer to prescription drugs as well, which are regulated by the government. Prescription drugs are considered controlled substances just like methamphetamine, cocaine or heroin.
In California, any individual can face drug crime criminal charges for unlawful possession, possession for sale, trafficking, manufacturing, or distribution of any prescription drug. This includes Adderall, Percocet, Vicodin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxycontin, valium, ketamine, methadone, Codeine, Xanax, Ritalin, fentanyl, among many others. Contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers to review your case.
Prescription Fraud and Possible Penalties
Illegal prescription drug fraud has become a serious problem. The State of California is making a serious attempt to crack down on prescription drug fraud, forgery and doctor shopping.
Prescription drugs are evolving and have become more powerful and addictive. An individual who has been legally prescribed a drug such as Vicodin or OxyContin can become addicted and begin looking for ways to obtain more. It is illegal for individuals to go doctor shopping, for doctors to illegally prescribe pills and for prescription drugs to be obtained by fraud.
California laws pertaining to prescription drug crimes include Health and Safety Code 11173, which relates to prescription fraud. It states that nobody shall obtain prescription drugs by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or concealment of a material fact. It also prohibits individuals from pretending to be a pharmacist in order to obtain controlled substances. It also makes it illegal to forge prescription labels.
HS 11153 relates to doctors illegally prescribing pills. It states that a prescription for a controlled substance can only be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by a doctor acting in the usual course of their professional practice. Doctors are prohibited from issuing a prescription for illegitimate reasons or for unusual circumstances outside the scope of a doctor's practice.
The similar crime of “forging or altering a prescription for narcotic drugs” is described under California Health and Safety Code 11368. The crime of counterfeiting a prescription blank is defined under Health & Safety Code 11162.5.
Penalties in California for prescription drug fraud and doctor shopping normally depend on the circumstances of the case. Prescription drug fraud cases can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony drug crime. Violations by individuals of Health & Safety Code Section 11173 can result in three years in a California state prison or one year in a local county jail.
Doctors who violate Health & Safety Code Section 11153 can face a year of state prison time and a fine of up to $20,000. Prescription drug offenders who are facing misdemeanor charges are usually able to avoid any jail time by participating in a drug diversion program. Individuals who are facing felony prescription drug crime charges have fewer legal options.
Retain a Drug Defense Lawyer
Typically, individuals who are facing prescription drug crimes are normal law-abiding citizens who have put themselves in a situation where they have become seriously addicted to prescription drugs.
Their addiction usually escalates to criminal activity, such as forgery or buying illegal prescription drugs from unlicensed dealers. These are tragic cases that deserve a compassionate criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight to get unnecessary drug crime charges dropped and assist the client in getting the help they need to overcome their addiction.
The Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at Cron, Israels & Stark have successfully defended numerous clients facing illegal prescription drug cases. We carefully examine each case's evidence and circumstances to determine our client's legal options.
A conviction has the potential to change your personal and professional life for many years. Do not make the mistake of putting your future in the hands of inexperienced drug defense lawyers who have not yet developed effective defense strategies against prescription drug crimes.
You can be assured that we will utilize our vast experience and knowledge of drug crime laws to seek a positive outcome to your case. Just call our office for a free and strictly confidential case evaluation.