Approximately 66% of all Americans are actively taking at least one prescription drug. Every year, 16 million Americans find themselves abusing prescription medications. Addictions to prescription drugs have been steadily increasing, and the illegal market for prescription medication has increased accordingly. Many reasons can lead an individual to obtain drugs by defrauding a medical professional or writing fake prescriptions.
Whether you obtained mediation through prescription fraud for yourself or a loved one or to distribute further, you could find yourself facing criminal charges. Similarly, doctors, pharmacists, and doctor’s office employees can be charged with prescription drug crimes if they prescribe without valid medical grounds or alter or fill prescriptions for themselves.
Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or prescription fraud, can be prosecuted through either the state or the federal system and carries substantial prison sentences and in some situations, extortionately high fines.
If you have been charged with prescription fraud, you will need aggressive representation and a compelling case to avoid a conviction and potentially life-changing penalties. The Law Place attorneys are experienced in successfully defending clients against many drug charges in both state and federal court. We will apply our broad range of expertise in drug cases to build the best defense possible and secure a successful outcome for you in your case.
If you have been accused of obtaining medication by fraud, contact an Orlando prescription fraud attorney for a free consultation at (941)-444-4444.
Obtaining a Controlled Substance By Fraud Charges in Florida
Many situations could be considered prescription drug fraud and result in prescription drug charges in Florida. Circumstances that could result in a charge of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud include the following:
- ‘Doctor shopping’ or visiting numerous doctors for multiple prescriptions when you already have a valid prescription, and lying about the prescriptions you already have.
- Attempting to fill the same prescription at multiple pharmacies.
- Impersonating a pharmacist to fill a fraudulent prescription.
- Impersonating a medical professional to forge prescriptions.
- Stealing prescription pads.
- Changing a prescription in any way. This could be changing the name or dosage.
- Using a false identity or someone else’s name to obtain a prescription.
Criminal Penalties for Prescription Fraud
The charge of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is a criminal offense that can be a third-degree felony or a first-degree misdemeanor. Typically this charge is administered through the state criminal justice system, however, there is the potential that a federal agency may become involved. In these circumstances, an individual could be facing federal charges that typically carry even harsher penalties than state charges.
If you are charged through the federal system for obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, penalties include lengthy prison sentences, such as up to 8 years for a second offense, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Third Degree Felony
If prosecuted under Florida law, you may be charged with a third-degree felony, which carries up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000. You could also be facing this charge for attempting to obtain prescription drugs by fraud, even if you are not successful. A third-degree felony charge will also result in a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record, which may hinder future employment and access to other opportunities.
If the offense involved large quantities of controlled substances, you may be charged with drug trafficking, which can result in you spending many years of your life behind bars.
First Degree Misdemeanor
Depending on how serious a judge deems your case to be, you may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor as opposed to a third-degree felony. This may occur in cases of small amounts of substances, for example. A first-degree misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
If you are caught in possession of a prescription pad or unsigned prescription, this may also result in a first-degree misdemeanor charge in Florida.
What Is Considered a Controlled Substance?
Florida Statute 893.03 defines what the State of Florida considers controlled substances. Schedule I of the statute outlines substances with a high potential for abuse and currently have no authorized medical use in the United States. These are typically illegal drugs such as Heroin and LSD.
Schedule II drugs, as outlined in the statute, are those that still have a high potential for abuse but are authorized for some severely restricted uses in medical settings. This includes Oxycodone, Methodone, and Amphetamine.
Schedule III substances are deemed to have a lower potential for abuse than substances outlined in schedules I and II but can still lead to moderate or low dependence. These substances, such as Anabolic Steroids and Ketamine, are accepted for more general medical use in the United States. Schedule IV drugs are similar to those in schedule III but have a lower potential for abuse, including Diazepam and Tramadol.
A charge of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud can include any substances available for use in medical settings, including substances listed under schedules II, III, IV, and V of the statute. Common drugs involved in obtaining controlled substances by fraud charges include Oxycodone (OxyContin and Percocet), Hydrocodone (Vicodin), and Diazepam (Valium).
How Can an Attorney Help?
You will need a strong defense strategy to beat a prescription fraud charge. Agencies keep meticulous records of prescriptions, meaning the evidence could be against you. However, there are effective defenses that your attorney could argue to fight your charges.
For instance, if you informed the doctor that you already had a prescription before requesting another, you did not commit fraud. Similarly, your attorney can dispute a case or evidence on procedural grounds or argue that you were unaware that the substance in question is a controlled substance. If it is not possible to have your charges dismissed, a skilled attorney may be able to have a Judge reduce them to a misdemeanor as opposed to a felony.
Both state and federal agencies prosecute prescription drug fraud aggressively. As such, you will need an attorney familiar with these cases that is prepared to go to bat for you in the courtroom with a compelling case against the prosecution.
Free Consultation With a Defense Attorney from The Law Place
If you are facing prescription drug fraud charges, The Law Place offers a free consultation and case evaluation to discuss your case with an experienced drug charge defense attorney. Our attorneys will outline the options available to you and propose a strategy to beat or reduce the charges you are facing.
Our consultation will equip you with the knowledge to decide the best next step for your circumstances, with no hidden fees or obligation to proceed with representation from The Law Place if you choose not to.
Contact The Law Place Today!
Take control and do not let obtaining a controlled substance by fraud charges impact the rest of your life. Take the first step towards building your defense by scheduling your free consultation with an Orlando obtaining controlled substance by fraud lawyer today.
Contact The Law Place at (941)-444-4444 to schedule your appointment.