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Prescription Fraud Attorney Los Angeles- California Health and Safety Code 11173 HS
Controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines are not the only drugs that feature in criminal activity. Prescription fraud is a common crime that encompasses both the illegal dispensation and the use of medications that are often prescribed for pain management, depression, and ADHD. If you have been arrested in relation to this type of crime, having a knowledgeable prescription fraud attorney by your side will provide you the best chance of beating the charges.
What is California Health and Safety Code Section 11173 HS?
Under California Health and Safety Code Section 11173 HS it is unlawful to misuse prescription drugs. This may include excessively prescribing medication, using without a prescription, or obtaining large amounts of prescription medication through doctor shopping.
Under this code doctors can be prosecuted for over-prescribing medication (which can often be referred to as a ‘pill mill’) and patients may be prosecuted for seeking out multiple prescriptions under false circumstances (called ‘doctor shopping’.) These behaviors that both fall under the category of prescription fraud are very serious crimes because prescription drug addiction has become such a huge problem throughout California and the rest of the country.
The following activities would be considered prescription fraud under California Health and Safety Code Section 11173 HS:
- Obtaining or trying to obtain prescription medication by misrepresentation of material facts, concealment or other deceitful means
- Creating a false report, order, statement or record for prescription drugs
- Misrepresenting oneself as someone who has the authority to obtain the controlled substance (such as falsely identifying as a doctor, pharmacist, or other medical professional)
- Putting forged/false labels onto containers that contain the controlled substance
A few of the most common controlled substances that are subject to prescription fraud are Adderall, Morphine, Oxycodone, Valium, Vicodin, and Xanax.
Is Prescription Drug Fraud a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Prescription drug fraud as outlined under California Health and Safety Code Section 11173 HS can either be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. It is what is referred to as a ‘wobbler’ offense because of this feature. As expected, if charged as a felony, prescription drug fraud comes with harsher penalties than if it is prosecuted as a misdemeanor.
What are the Penalties for Prescription Drug Fraud in California?
The crime of prescription drug fraud can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the decision of the prosecutor. If someone is found guilty of a misdemeanor for this crime, they are likely looking at a maximum of one year in county jail as well as a fine upwards of $1,000. In the case of a felony, the jail sentence would likely be increased to up to three years and the maximum fine would go up to $20,000.
Whether the crime of prescription drug fraud is prosecuted as a misdemeanor, or a felony depends largely on the circumstances of the offense as well as whether the defendant has a prior criminal history. There is a significant difference between these punishments and a seasoned attorney is your best bet for obtaining the best possible outcome— minimizing jail time and fines, or getting the case thrown out altogether.
Learn How Our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help You Beat Prescription Drug Fraud Charges
Being charged with the crime of prescription drug fraud does not necessarily mean that you will be found guilty in court. There are a number of defenses that can be used to fight these charges and a lawyer who has handled many of these cases will know exactly which will work best depending on the circumstances of your case. This is why it is important to immediately seek out the help of a prescription drug fraud attorney.
How Do You Beat Prescription Drug Fraud Charges?
Some of the more common defenses that are used to fight prescription drug fraud cases include showing that there wasn’t any fraud involved in the procurement of the drugs, entrapment by law enforcement, and obtaining a coerced confession from the defendant. If any of these can be proven by the defense it might be grounds for having certain evidence, or even the entire case, thrown out. Let’s take a closer look at these three defenses:
Lack of Fraud
Because the presence of fraud (for example, by misrepresentation of one’s circumstances) is a necessary part of proving the crime, demonstrating that it didn’t exist in the case is one way to fight charges. If someone has a verifiable medical condition and they went to more than one doctor to obtain a prescription but were forthright about their state it may not constitute fraud in the eyes of the law.
If a defendant was shown to be lured into committing a crime (as might happen during an undercover police operation) this could put into question whether the defendant was harassed, pressured, or otherwise unduly influenced to participate in the crime. This could be grounds for dismissing a case.
If the defendant provided a confession at the time of arrest, and later it was shown that this was done in response to overbearing measures taken by law enforcement, it could render the confession unusable in court. At a minimum the confession will be thrown out if it was found to be coerced. And if the case was wholly built around a coerced confession, there is a good chance that the judge may choose to dismiss the case.
Contact Daniel Perlman and Matthew Cohen Today for A Free Consultation
Crimes prosecuted under California Health and Safety Code Section 11173 HS should not be taken lightly and ensuring you have the help of an expert lawyer is the best way to avoid significant jail time and hefty fines. Prescription drug fraud cases should be fought by someone who has the know-how to mount a strong defense. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys Daniel Perlman and Matthew Cohen have successfully represented clients in prescription drug fraud cases.
To speak to someone about your case, call our offices at 1 (310) 299-0062 and we will put you in touch with our knowledgeable attorneys.