Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud is legally defined under Florida Statute 893.13 as when a person successfully obtains or attempts to obtain possession of a controlled substance through the use of forgery, fraud, misinterpretation, deception, or subterfuge.
If you are convicted of this offense in Sarasota, Florida, then you could be facing a third-degree felony charge, which comes with a prison term of up to 5 years and a $5,000 fine. If you are caught with the controlled substance on your person, then you can also be charged with drug trafficking. This is a federal crime, and as such, you will face a federal court system and may receive penalties of up to 25 years in prison as well as substantially higher fines.
If you are facing charges for this type of drug crime, then call The Law Place. After a free consultation, your case will be reviewed by our team of criminal defense attorneys who have over 75 years of collective experience in the practice areas of criminal law. After your case has been reviewed thoroughly, we will assign you a highly skilled and dedicated criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will work alongside you to tailor the strongest defense possible and ensure that you take the best steps forward on your legal journey.
Call us now for a free consultation at (941) 444-4444.
Defining the Offense of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud in Sarasota Florida
As detailed above, this offense occurs when a person obtains or attempts to obtain a controlled substance through forgery, fraud, misinterpretation, deception, or subterfuge.
For example, if a person were to withhold information from a practitioner to obtain a controlled substance, then attempting to, or successfully obtaining a prescription from another, or even multiple practitioners before the 30-day prescription period has ended.
This is also often referred to as “doctor shopping.” In cases of doctor shopping, a person will visit several practitioners in a short period of time complaining about symptoms for various ailments with the intent of receiving substances. Some of the most common substances sought out are painkillers, such as Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.
If suspected of doctor shopping, your pharmacist or practitioner will look for the following:
- Any attempt to coerce the doctor into increasing the number of pills prescribed each month.
- Claims that your previous lot of prescription drugs were either lost or stolen.
- Despite having insurance for the prescription, you are paying in cash.
- You have no clear source of income but can pay for the prescription in cash.
- You appear far more knowledgeable than the average person when it comes to the brand or dosage of a particular drug.
- You show signs of heightened nerves when waiting for your prescription to be filed.
- You become demanding or irate if the prescription is not issued.
What Are the Charges You Might Face in Sarasota, Florida?
The charges you will face are dependent on the circumstances surrounding the offense. These have been detailed below.
First-Degree Misdemeanor Charge
In the State of Florida, you will face this charge if you have been found in possession of a prescription pad that has not been legally signed or is invalid.
If convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor in Sarasota, Florida, then you can face up to 1 year in prison along with a fine of $1,000.
You can also be charged with a third-degree felony prescription charge. This comes with a fine of $5,000, up to 5 years in prison, and up to 5 years of probation.
Third-Degree Felony Charge
In Florida, you will face this charge if you have obtained or attempted to obtain a controlled substance by fraud.
Some examples of this are:
- Tampering with an existing prescription.
- Gaining another prescription or attempting to gain another prescription from one or multiple other practitioners through the use of forgery, fraud, misinterpretation, deception, or subterfuge.
This means that the accused does not even need to obtain the drugs for the prosecution to seek a conviction. They merely need to attempt to obtain them.
Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in prison along with a fine of $5,000, and following your prison term, you will be placed under a period of up to 5 years of probation.
If you are successful in getting the prescription filled, then you can be charged with illegal possession of prescription drugs. Also, depending on the number of drugs in their possession, you may also be charged for the more serious drug crime of drug trafficking.
What Must the Prosecution Prove to Gain a Conviction in Sarasota, Florida?
For the prosecution to obtain a successful conviction in Sarasota, FL., the following circumstances must be proven:
- The prosecution must be able to show that deception, fraud, forgery, or subterfuge was used to obtain a controlled substance.
- That the substance obtained was a controlled substance. The extensive list of substances is detailed in Florida Statute 893.03.
- That the accused was attempting to obtain or successfully obtained a controlled substance.
Given how successful convictions for drug crimes can negatively affect your life for years to come, it is vital that if you are facing charges that you seek the help of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It is also important that you speak to a law firm before divulging any information to the authorities, if possible.
How Can The Law Place Help?
As drug crimes are punished very severely in Sarasota, Florida, you must have the strongest defense possible when facing the prosecution. After a free consultation, if you choose to move forward with legal representation from The Law Place, your case will be assessed by our team of criminal defense lawyers. Our team is highly accustomed to dealing with cases of drug crimes just like yours. After we have thoroughly looked over your case, you will be assigned a skilled and highly experienced criminal defense attorney.
Your attorney will work with you side by side as your advocate. It is important to define the circumstances of your offense, so they will scour the evidence, looking for inconsistencies or anything that may go against the prosecution’s case against you.
- It may be the case that you were never actually in possession of a controlled at any time. If this is the case, then there won’t be sufficient evidence to prove otherwise.
- The number of prescription drugs in your possession wasn’t sufficient to prove that you obtained them from multiple sources.
- The substance you obtained is not listed as a controlled substance.
What Are Some Possible Defenses?
The circumstances surrounding your arrest will dictate the nature of the defense. Through a thorough investigation, your lawyer will guide you in the process of constructing the strongest defense possible.
Some of the avenues of defense your lawyer may use are listed below:
- The illicit nature of the controlled substance was not known to you.
- The evidence against you was obtained unlawfully.
- Law enforcement obtained the evidence against you through an unlawful search and seizure.
- The practitioners used to obtain the controlled substances were each aware that you were taking other prescriptions at the time.
There are also “exceptions” that you may fall under. For instance, if you are acting under the jurisdiction of law enforcement, you are a common carrier, a manufacturer, wholesaler, or distributor. Or if you are a pharmacist, dentist, medical doctor, optometrist, researcher, hospital practitioner, or an employee of a state, federal, or local government.
Why Choose The Law Place?
If you decide to move forward with legal representation from The Law Place, we’ll deliver the collective experience of over 75 years of practicing criminal law. Your case will not just be handled by your lawyer alone. It will be reviewed by our team so that we can construct the best possible defense moving forward.
Your criminal defense lawyer will be highly skilled in practice areas of criminal law and will have experience dealing with cases involving drug crimes just like yours. After they are assigned to you, your lawyer will work closely with you to clearly and concisely lay out your defense strategy so that you understand your position and can move ahead with your case. All the while, your lawyers will aggressively push to have charges dropped or reduced.
How Much Will It Cost to Have Legal Representation From a High-Quality Law Firm?
After your free consultation and case review, you will be quoted a figure. If you choose to move forwards with our representation, then this figure will not change. No extra fees will be lumped on top of this initial quote at any point during your case. We place a high value on transparency and maintain a high level of trust with our clients, and we would never break that trust with hidden or surprise fees.
You may ask, “Why can’t you quote me a figure upfront?” The reason an upfront quote is not possible is due to the differing circumstances of each client’s case. Simply put, as no two cases are ever the same, the cost of fighting them will differ from client to client.
Your case is important to us, and we recognize that facing down felony charges can already place you in potential financial turmoil. So, it might seem logical to pass on strong legal representation from a law firm in an effort to keep your financial situation under control. You wouldn’t be the first to consider this, but it is very important to remember, the loss of earning you may face if the prosecution gains a successful conviction can far outweigh any legal costs. With the potential loss of earning as the result of imprisonment, or once released, the inability to find employment due to being labeled a felon, it’s easy to see how the cost of strong legal representation is well worth the price.
Call The Law Place Now
If you are facing charges for obtaining prescription drugs through the use of fraud, then call The Law Place now. Know that your case matters to us, and after your free consultation, we’ll get straight to work tailoring a strong defense.
We’ll shoulder the burden of fighting your case in court. So give yourself peace of mind in knowing that, with our representation, you’ll have the strongest defense possible against your charges. This will give you the greatest chance of a fair outcome at the end of your case.
Our phones are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This ensures that someone will always be available to take your call. So call now for a free consultation at (941) 444-4444.