The State of Florida has strict laws in place surrounding drug crimes, and being convicted can result in serious consequences. Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is criminalized under Florida Statute 893.13. The law states that if you use fraud, deception, misrepresentation, forgery, or subterfuge to obtain a controlled drug that you do not have a medical prescription for, you will face criminal charges.
Being caught obtaining a controlled substance by fraud can result in a third-degree felony charge. The consequences of receiving a felony conviction of this nature can include large fines, a maximum of five years in prison, and a permanent stain on your criminal record. Additionally, you may face criminal drug trafficking charges if you are caught with a large amount of the controlled substance on your person. Drug trafficking is considered a federal crime, and being convicted would result in severe penalties.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges for obtaining a controlled substance by fraud in Fort Myers, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Here at The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience in multiple practice areas, including many drug crime cases. Our office has a large team of experienced criminal defense attorneys who will do everything in their power to get your charges dropped or reduced. We have built a strong attorney-client relationship throughout many years of achieving favorable results for our clients. We offer a free consultation so that you can receive honest and skilled legal advice with no strings attached.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a defense attorney from our firm. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How is Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud Defined in Florida?
Regardless of whether you are caught actually obtaining an illegal substance by fraud or you have merely made an attempt at obtaining the particular drug, you will face the criminal charges listed under Florida Statute 893.13. Fraudulence can include obtaining the drug through forgery, misrepresentation, subterfuge, or deception.
A typical example of this crime is when a person uses a 30-day prescription legally given to them by a doctor in multiple different medical dispensaries to maximize the amount of the prescription drug they receive. Other situations that can result in a criminal charge include when an individual tries to obtain prescription drugs by providing a medical practitioner with misleading or false information. Under the law, this would be considered misrepresentation on behalf of the defendant and could result in serious criminal charges.
What Are Some Common Sides of Seeking to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud in Florida?
One of the most common ways of obtaining a substance by fraud in Florida is when an individual makes an attempt to obtain numerous prescriptions from different medical practitioners for the same symptoms over a short amount of time. This behavior is generally known as doctor shopping. It is common for individuals to doctor shop for strong painkillers and opioids, as they may be suffering from opioid addiction or have become addicted to prescription drugs they received for previous personal injury. Some of the most common drugs sought include OxyCodone and Hydrocodone.
There are some particular patterns that can make it easy to spot when a person is doctor shopping. Some of the most common behaviors include:
- Attempting to persuade medical practitioners to lengthen their prescription so that they can continue to receive the drug in question.
- Funding their prescription with cash when it is evident they do not have a stable job or income.
- Paying for a prescription drug with cash even though they have medical insurance.
- Lying to doctors that their drug prescription has been lost or stolen.
- Having too much knowledge about the substance.
- Behaving anxiously, irritated, or angrily when they face difficulty receiving their drug prescription.
- Exhibiting stress, nervousness, or being flustered when they are attempting to obtain the controlled substance.
- Demanding a medical practitioner to give or refill a prescription for them.
If you have been charged with obtaining an illegal substance through fraudulent means, you must seek assistance from a criminal defense lawyer. Receiving a conviction for this crime can have serious consequences and may impact the rest of your life, and without an attorneys’ help, it may be difficult to fight off your charges.
Consequences of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud in Fort Myers, Florida
If you are caught by law enforcement obtaining or attempting to obtain an illegal substance by fraud, you will most likely face serious criminal charges, and in many instances, a felony charge. Being convicted of a felony or even a misdemeanor charge can have a lasting impact on your life. You may have to pay huge fines, spend many years in prison, and have a permanent criminal record, which will impact the rest of your life, including your right to vote and future job prospects.
Depending on the controlled substances you were trying to obtain, how much you had in your possession at the time, and how serious your crime was, the criminal charges and penalties you face may vary. Being caught with the drugs in your possession can also result in a drug possession charge which carries with it additional penalties.
To prevent facing these severe penalties, we recommend that you speak with a criminal defense attorney in Florida as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer who has dealt with many drug offenses will have the skills necessary to build a strong defense on your behalf. They can use this defense to either reduce your charges or get them thrown out completely.
First-Degree Misdemeanor Charges
A first-degree misdemeanor charge is less severe than a felony, but it is still a serious charge. If you are convicted, you can face up to one year in prison in addition to a maximum fine of $1,000.
It is likely that you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for fraudulently obtaining prescriptions if the amount of drugs you procured or attempted to procure was small or the arresting officer does not consider the crime to be too serious.
Third-Degree Felony Charges
A felony charge is considered much more serious than a misdemeanor, and if you are convicted, the penalties get a lot worse. Being convicted of a third-degree felony can result in you facing up to five years imprisonment, a five-year period probation period, and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Felony charges are considered serious as they leave a permanent mark on your record, which can impact your future job and education prospects, your right to vote, and your ability to obtain a rental contract, amongst many other things.
It is likely for you to be charged with a felony for obtaining controlled substances through fraudulent means if it can be demonstrated that you:
- Interfered or tampered with an already existing prescription.
- Obtained or tried to obtain controlled substances by filling out fake prescriptions from multiple medical practitioners.
It is important to note that it is not necessary to actually procure controlled drugs fraudulently to be charged with a felony in Florida. If it can be proven that you took active fraudulent or deceitful measures in an attempt to procure the drug in question, you can still be charged with a felony.
As discussed previously, if you are found in possession of the drug that you procured fraudulently, you may face additional drug possession charges. Being convicted of drug possession can result in additional felony charges, adding more time in prison and fines onto your sentence. Additionally, you could be charged with drug trafficking if the amount found in your possession is more than what could be considered for personal use.
In some circumstances, it is possible to be charged with a first or second-degree felony for procuring a controlled substance by fraud. If convicted, the penalties you face will be much more severe, including up to 25 years in prison and huge fines.
How Is This Crime Proven by Prosecutors in a Florida Court?
Florida law requires the prosecution to satisfy a burden of proof in order to find any person guilty of a crime. To satisfy this burden of proof, prosecutors have to show, using evidence or otherwise, that you are guilty of this drug crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
To be found guilty of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance through fraudulent means, the prosecutor must prove:
- You procured the controlled substance by using deception, subterfuge, forgery, or any other fraudulent means.
- The particular drug that you attempted to acquire or actually acquired is listed as a controlled substance in Florida Statute 893.03.
- The substance was found in your possession, or you had made clear attempts to get the drug through fraudulent means.
In cases involving drug crimes, the prosecution will often have a strong case built against you from the get-go, and proving your innocence without legal assistance can be extremely difficult. The sooner you speak with a criminal defense lawyer, the better chance you have at receiving justice and getting your charges reduced or thrown out. They can advise you on what information to disclose to law enforcement officers and can negotiate with the prosecution for you.
Possible Defenses for This Type of Drug Crime
When coming up against state prosecution for drug crimes, it is necessary that you have a solid defense strategy. Criminal defense lawyers who have the right amount of experience will be able to use their skills and previous knowledge to not only build a sturdy defense but to foresee the prosecution’s arguments and make arguments based on this.
Depending on the particular circumstances of your case, an experienced lawyer may use one or more of the following defenses:
- The defendant lacked knowledge that the particular substance is classed as a controlled substance under Florida criminal statutes when they acquired or attempted to acquire it.
- The doctor or medical practitioner was aware of the crime when they gave the prescription.
- The prosecution’s evidence is unconstitutional and can’t be used in court. An example of this is if the police officer did not have legal grounds for a search and seizure.
- The warrant used in the arrest does not have a legal basis.
- You legally obtained the drugs through valid prescriptions given by medical practitioners, and these practitioners had knowledge that you were receiving prescriptions from other doctors.
It is important to be aware that not everyone is subject to these particular laws. There are a number of situations where you cannot be charged with this drug crime, including if you are a medical practitioner, a manufacturer or wholesaler of the substance, a police officer, or an informant. If these situations apply to you and you have been charged with obtaining a substance through fraud in Florida, a lawyer will get your charges dropped completely.
The Cost of Hiring Legal Representation From The Law Place
One of the main reasons people don’t seek legal assistance when they have been charged with a crime is because of the costs of hiring a lawyer. Our office knows that Florida lawyers can often be expensive, so we always guarantee a fair and reasonable rate. We offer an initial free consultation where you can receive legal advice on your case, and we can give you an estimate on how much it will cost you to hire us.
We believe that the costs of hiring a lawyer are minor in comparison to the penalties you will face if convicted of a crime involving drugs, particularly if it is a felony charge. Our priority is ensuring that the rest of your life is not impacted by a criminal record, and if you decide to hire us, we will fight tirelessly to ensure you receive justice.
Our law office offers a personalized payment plan so that you don’t have to pay any legal costs upfront. We believe that everyone should have access to legal assistance regardless of their current financial situation.
Contact The Law Place Today
Here at The Law Place, we know that fighting criminal charges in court can be extremely difficult and stressful, particularly when coming up against lawyers who have built a strong case against you. Being convicted of procuring prescriptions fraudulently can impact the rest of your life, resulting in a permanent mark on your criminal record, time in prison, and huge fines. Without legal assistance, it can be difficult to fight off these charges in court.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for procuring a controlled substance through fraudulent means in the State of Florida, you should contact us at The Law Place today. Our law office has over 75 years of combined experience in multiple practice areas, meaning you will benefit from a wide range of skills. We offer a free consultation where you can receive legal advice from our attorneys with no strings attached. Our lawyers have built up a great attorney-client relationship due to our history of achieving the best results for our clients, and we always guarantee our costs to be fair and reasonable.
Don’t waste any time contacting us. The sooner you do, the better chance we have at getting you justice for your criminal charges in Florida.
Call our office today to schedule a free consultation. Our lines are always open.