According to Florida Statute 893.13, the term “obtaining a controlled substance by fraud” refers to a situation when a person obtains or attempts to obtain a controlled substance that isn’t medically necessary for them by fraudulent means. This practice is usually carried out through forgery, misinterpretation, subterfuge, or deception of a medical practitioner. It is considered a drug crime, and it is usually committed by people who wish to get a higher amount of psychotropic prescription drugs, steroids, or painkillers than was prescribed to them.
In Florida, obtaining controlled substances by fraud is usually considered a third-degree felony, which can lead to a fine of up to $5,000 and a sentence of up to five years in prison. But this is only for basic cases. If a large quantity of the substance is found in your possession, you might be accused of drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is considered a federal crime and usually gets punished by a long prison sentence and a very high fine.
Have you been charged with obtaining a controlled substance by fraud in Port Charlotte, Florida? Then you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. There is almost no chance that you will manage this situation successfully without any professional legal help. A skilled lawyer will evaluate your case and create a strong criminal defense to your charges.
At The Law Place, we have more than 75 years of combined experience in handling similar cases, so you can rest assured we will handle yours. Our attorneys have vast experience in Florida law and in numerous practice areas, including drug crimes and illegal possession of prescription drugs. So, don’t hesitate and contact us today for a free consultation and professional legal advice. Call us at (941) 444-4444. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Definition and Examples of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud
As we mentioned in the introduction, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is defined in Florida Statute 893.13. You will be facing criminal charges not only for obtaining it but also just for attempting to obtain it or obtaining a larger quantity than you actually need. If there is evidence to prove that you got the substance by misrepresentation, forgery, subterfuge, deception, or any other type of fraudulent behavior, you will be facing corresponding penalties.
One of the most common examples of this kind of drug crime is when people visit multiple practitioners during the 30-day period for collecting prescription drugs to let them prescribe the same drug for them. This way, people can obtain a much higher quantity of the substance than was originally intended by the doctor. Another example is when a person provides the practitioner with misleading information in order to have the drug prescribed even though they don’t actually need it. This includes reporting non-existent symptoms or holding back information.
Common Signs of Persons Trying to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud
The practice of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is generally known as “doctor shopping.” A person, usually addicted to the drug, will visit more doctors over a short period of time. They will introduce themselves as a “new patient” or a “traveler,” and they will exaggerate or feign their symptoms in order to receive the prescription. The most common drugs sought using this practice are strong opioid painkillers, stimulants, or tranquilizers, i.e., drugs that create addiction.
A person engaged in “doctor shopping” usually exhibits some of the following signs:
- They try to persuade the practitioner to prescribe a larger quantity of the drugs than they actually need.
- They claim that their prescription was stolen or lost.
- They pay for the drugs in cash even though they have medical insurance.
- They know the drug in question too well.
- They get anxious, irritated, or infuriated when it seems like the practitioner will not prescribe the drug.
- They feel stressed, nervous, or flustered when receiving the prescription or collecting the drug.
No matter the reason, the practice of doctor shopping is illegal and punishable by law. If you have been accused of it, don’t hesitate and get in touch with a criminal defense attorney. The Law Place offers a non-binding, free case evaluation, where you can find out what options you have in your current situation without committing to anything. It is very important for us to create an attorney-client relationship that is strong and based on mutual trust. This way, you can be sure that our advice will be personalized and discreet.
Consequences of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud in Florida
If you obtain or attempt to obtain a controlled substance by fraud in Florida and are caught by the police, you will be facing serious consequences. The charges and penalties for this kind of offense are usually quite strict. You will find yourself facing high fines and many years in prison. Moreover, if you are convicted, it will permanently damage your criminal record. This is why it is so important to find a strong and trustworthy lawyer to back your case. They might help reduce your charges or have them dropped entirely. At The Law Place, we have a great experience with cases like this, so don’t be afraid to put this matter in our hands.
The charges awarded for doctor shopping vary according to the severity of the crime and the quantity of drugs found in your possession. Generally, there are two types of charges you could face:
First-Degree Misdemeanor Charges
If you fraudulently obtained only a small amount of the controlled substance and your offense isn’t considered serious, you will be charged only with a first-degree misdemeanor charge. This includes a fine of up to $1,000 and a prison sentence of up to one year.
Third-Degree Felony Charges
If your offense was more serious, you could be charged with a felony. If you commit a third-degree felony, you could be facing up to five years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000, and a five-year probation period. Moreover, you will receive a permanent criminal record, which can affect your future plans and prospects.
You might be charged with a third-degree felony, for example, in the following situations:
- When it can be proven that you tampered with the prescription.
- When you filled fraudulent prescriptions from multiple practitioners.
However, it is also considered a felony when you just attempt to obtain the substance by fraud even though you aren’t successful. If you succeed, you will be facing additional charges.
Moreover, if you are found in possession of a large quantity of the drug, you might also be accused of drug trafficking. This is considered a federal crime, which entails much more serious consequences for you. You could be, for example, charged with a second-degree or first-degree felony, which includes up to 25 years in prison and unbelievably high fines. However, if you find a good attorney, they will be able to build a strong defense for you and lower your charges. Then don’t hesitate and call us today for a free consultation and professional legal advice regarding your case.
Proving This Type of Drug Crime in a Court in Florida
In the State of Florida, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. This means that the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you actually committed the crime you have been accused of. In order to do so, they need to prove the following:
- That you obtained the controlled substance by fraud, i.e., through forgery, misrepresentation, deception, or subterfuge.
- That the substance in question is classified as a controlled substance by Florida Statute 893.03.
- That you actually obtained or tried to obtain the drug by means of fraud.
If you have been accused of illegal possession of a controlled substance, it is probable that the prosecution team will have good legal backing, which will be very hard to beat if you are alone. It is therefore important that you get a professional legal representative and do so as soon as possible. Without their timely advice, you might unintentionally tell the investigators something that the prosecution could later use against you. A professional criminal defense attorney will advise you how to act in every situation so that the proceedings work in your favor as much as possible. So, contact our law firm for a free consultation and discover the options you now have.
Possible Defenses for This Type of Drug Crime
Apart from advising you how to act and respond during the proceedings, a professional criminal defense attorney will use their knowledge and previous experience to build a strong criminal defense to lower your charges. A defense like this can be based, for example, on the following arguments:
- You didn’t know that the drug in question was classified as a controlled substance by the laws of Florida.
- The evidence that is being used by the prosecution against you has been obtained illegally.
- The medical practitioner who prescribed you the drug was aware of the fact that a crime was being committed.
- The warrant that was granted to obtain the evidence was illegal.
- Your multiple prescriptions were legal since the practitioners were aware of the other ones.
- Your possession of controlled substances actually wasn’t unlawful at the time of the arrest.
- The amount of the controlled substance wasn’t enough to prove that you committed multiple prescriptions fraud.
However, there are also exceptions to the laws governing drug possession, under which your charges could be dropped entirely. These exceptions include:
- Manufacturers or wholesalers of the drug.
- Doctors or other healthcare workers.
- Members of the law enforcement.
These are just some of the arguments that can be used by criminal defense attorneys to build an unbeatable defense. However, it is very important that your defense is personalized and created specifically for your case. We strongly recommend you do not attempt to defend yourself alone. Call us today and schedule a free consultation with us to find out what can be done for you.
How Much Does a Lawyer From The Law Place Cost?
Every reputable law firm knows that it is impossible to determine the price of its services without knowing the details of the case. If someone offers you a price without talking to you first, there is certainly something fishy about it. It is therefore important that you attend our free consultation so that we can discuss the particular facts and set the price. And don’t worry, our prices are fair and competitive. Moreover, we believe in fair communication. That is why we won’t hide anything from you and the price we will give you will be final – no extra costs or hidden expenses.
At our law firm, we also understand that a lot of people cannot afford to pay all the legal fees up-front. That is why we offer to create a personalized payment schedule, which will provide you with more time. Facing criminal charges is certainly a very stressful situation, and we don’t want to add to it by pressuring you to pay everything at once. We strive to create an attorney-client relationship that is based on mutual trust and understanding.
Call The Law Place Today and Ask for a Free Case Evaluation
At The Law Place, we understand the importance of quality. Most of our attorneys have been rated 10.0 by the AVVO, which is the highest rating lawyers can receive at this site. Moreover, our attorneys work as a team, so you will benefit from the knowledge and skills of the whole team for the price of just one lawyer. Once we agree on cooperation, you will be assigned one attorney who will become your advocate. They will be your contact person for anything related to the case, and they will fight for your rights at the court. However, your case will still be backed by the team working tirelessly to ensure the best outcome for you.
So, contact us today for a free consultation at a location that is most convenient for you. Call us at our phone number (941) 444-4444 today, and let us take this burden off your shoulders.