As the American public fills millions of new prescriptions every day, many also face the threat of a growing addiction to medications designed to heal them. Forging or altering a prescription is a serious offense in Orlando, and depending on the type and amount one has fraudulently obtained, charges could reach the federal level.
It’s important to consult with a highly-skilled drug offense attorney if charged with such an offense, or if you find out you’re under investigation. Don’t wait until the police are serving a warrant for your arrest. Contact The Umansky Law Firm right away for vital information and steps to take to safeguard your rights and freedom.
When most people hear the term “drug charges” they think of illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine. What might not come to mind is the significant increase in prescription drug abuse throughout the country. Many people mistakenly believe these drugs are “safe” because they can be prescribed by a doctor; however, that is far from the truth.
We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic in which thousands of people have lost their lives by overdosing on prescription medications, primarily opioids or painkillers. As a result, the State of Florida now has an online database of prescription drugs that are monitored, where doctors report them within 15 days of writing a prescription.
Some of the drugs that are now monitored include, but are not limited to:
Government enforcement agencies not only monitor individual prescription users, but also the doctors who prescribe them. Pill mill is the term for a business or practice where doctors and pharmacies dispense narcotics to patients even though there isn’t a legitimate medical reason to do so. States and federal agencies across the United States are working hard to shut down these types of operations as many patients suffer from addiction due to these practices.
Many individuals resort to forging a prescription, or altering a legal one from a licensed physician, to get more than they need. Some obtain blank prescription pads and use them to create forged prescriptions. Others may call in prescriptions to a pharmacy, pretending to be a physician. Visiting a number of physicians for the purpose of obtaining additional prescriptions for one drug is commonly called “doctor shopping,” which is also illegal.
According to Florida Statute § 893.13(7)(a), having or obtaining a controlled substance is a felony. A conviction of this third-degree felony can mean five years in prison, five years of probation, and a fine of $5,000.
Florida law also states that it’s illegal to be in possession of these drugs without a valid prescription. Forging a prescription, altering a legal one (to increase the amount of medication prescribed), or possessing a blank prescription slip or pad are all actions that can lead to a first-degree misdemeanor charge for a first offense. A conviction might result in incarceration for up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Physicians and other medical professionals who assist individuals trying to obtain illegal prescriptions can also be charged with prescription drug fraud. This includes writing a prescription that’s not medically necessary, dealing “out the back door,” writing for a “fictitious individual,” or doing it for monetary gain.
Even if someone is unsuccessful in illegally obtaining prescriptions, they can be charged with prescription drug fraud.
If you face charges for forging a prescription, the prosecutor must show that you obtained or attempted to obtain a controlled substance using some form of fraud in order to convict you. A criminal defense lawyer with years of experience defending charges of fraud will be instrumental in protecting your rights.
If you are arrested or under investigation for prescription drug fraud or “doctor shopping” in Florida, speak to an attorney before disclosing any information to law enforcement. Anything you say really can, and will, be used against you. You’ll increase your chances of avoiding arrest and/or prosecution if you speak to an attorney first.
Facing charges for prescription drug fraud leads to serious ramifications that can last a lifetime. You risk jeopardizing your future, finances, and professional career if convicted of this crime. Before ever going to court, speak with an experienced drug fraud attorney who can advise you of your rights, the risks in your case, and what options you have to minimize the damage to your life.
The Umansky Law Firm is experienced in a wide range of criminal charges. As members of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, we dedicate ourselves to aggressively defending your case and work for the best possible case outcome. As former prosecutors, we know exactly how to craft a strong defense, fight back and aggressively defend you and protect your rights as a defendant. Put our over 100 years of combined experience to work for your case today, so that you get the best possible representation for such a serious crime.
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The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys