Prescription Drug Fraud
When talking about drug crimes, people may think of marijuana, cocaine, heroin or other illegal substances. However, the United States has seen a rapid increase in prescription drug abuse throughout the last two decades. The use of painkillers, sedatives, stimulants and other prescribed medications as recreational drugs has increased dramatically.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 105 people die as a result of drug overdoses each day in the United States, and another 6,748 people are treated in emergency centers for the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs.
In Florida, it is illegal for someone to be in actual or constructive possession of prescription drugs unless they have legal permission, such as a prescription from a doctor. If someone is found to be in possession illegally, he or she could face criminal punishments including jail time, fines or both.
Fort Lauderdale Prescription Drug Fraud Lawyer
Prescription drug fraud charges are serious and can carry steep penalties. A serious Fort Lauderdale prescription drug fraud lawyer will fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed, while revealing the holes in the prosecution’s case.
The team of criminal defenses attorneys at Meltzer & Bell is comprised of a former prosecutor and a former public defender who have experience dealing with drug-related crimes. Let them build a strong defense for your case.
Call (754) 755-8554 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Meltzer & Bell represents clients throughout Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Davie, Sunrise, Weston and Wilton Manors.
Information About Prescription Fraud in Florida
- Prescription Drug Fraud Charges Under Florida Law
- Penalties for Prescription Drug Fraud in Fort Lauderdale
- Finding the Best Prescription Drug Fraud Attorney in Broward County
According to Florida Statutes Annotated § 893.13, it is illegal to obtain or try to acquire any controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge. Prescription drug fraud can be committed in several ways, including:
- Forging prescriptions
- Altering prescriptions to increase the amount of drugs to be obtained
- Getting prescriptions from multiple physicians, also known an “doctor shopping”
- Stealing blank prescription pads
In Florida, any effort to call in a fake prescription while pretending to be a doctor or a physician also would be considered illegal, as well as trying to fill a prescription made out to someone else without their consent.
Doctors and physicians also can be charged with prescription drug fraud if they assist a patient with fraud, knowingly write a prescription for a fictitious person, write a prescription for a monetary benefit or write a prescription and there is no medical necessity.
The list of substances illegal to possess without a prescription includes:
- Amphetamines, such as Adderall
- Hydrocodone, or Vicodin
Being in possession of a controlled substance without legal permission is a third-degree felony in Florida. If convicted, you could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. This offense is a third-degree felony up to a specific amount for each drug until it becomes a drug trafficking offense.
For instance, possession of opiates like Oxycodone without a prescription in excess of 4 grams is a trafficking offense. Drug trafficking penalties vary based on which prescription drug and what amount is in possession.
In Florida, obtaining a prescription through fraud, such as tampering with an existing prescription, is a third-degree felony, which also is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Possession of a prescription pad that has not been legally signed by the practitioner or doctor is considered a first-degree misdemeanor for the first offense. Conviction of a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida could mean up to one year in prison, a $1,000 fine or both. Subsequent offenses are third-degree felonies.
Also, you still can be charged with the crime even if you do not succeed in getting the prescription drugs. For example, if you write a prescription for painkillers on a blank pad from your doctor, but get caught before filling the counterfeit prescription, you still could be charged with prescription drug fraud.
A medical practitioner charged with prescription drug fraud can be charged with a third-degree felony and can face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If the practitioner received $1,000 or more for the prescriptions, he or she could be charged with drug trafficking, a second-degree felony.
If you have been charged with prescription drug fraud in Broward County, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale prescription drug fraud lawyer to build your defense and combat the charges. Attorneys at Meltzer & Bell are skilled at representing those facing prescription drug fraud charges in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (754) 755-8554 to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney in Broward County.