Prescription Drug Fraud, Forgery & Doctor Shopping Charges

Dealing with Prescription Drug Fraud, Forgery, and Doctor Shopping Charges

Getting charged with prescription drug fraud, forgery, or doctor shopping can be an overwhelming and scary situation. These types of charges often carry serious penalties like fines or even jail time. However, with the right legal guidance and representation, many people are able to get charges reduced or even dismissed. This article provides an overview of common prescription drug charges, defense strategies, and tips for finding an attorney to represent your case.

Understanding the Charges

There are a few main prescription drug offenses that people often face charges for:

Prescription Fraud or Forgery

This refers to altering, creating, or filling a fake prescription. Examples include:

  • Changing the quantity or dosage on a real prescription
  • Using someone else’s legitimate prescription
  • Creating a fake prescription from scratch
  • Calling in false prescription refills

Potential penalties for prescription fraud depend on the specific details but can include both misdemeanor and felony charges. Under California law, for example, prescription fraud can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony carrying up to 3 years in jail.

Doctor Shopping

Doctor shopping refers to seeing multiple providers to obtain similar or overlapping prescriptions. It becomes illegal when done intentionally to access more drugs than medically necessary or to sell/distribute the medications. Potential penalties vary but doctor shopping often leads to felony charges.

In Florida, for example, a doctor shopping conviction can include up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Other states have similar laws with serious ramifications.

Prescription Drug Diversion

Prescription drug diversion involves taking legitimately prescribed medications and giving, selling or distributing them to someone else. Like doctor shopping, diversion becomes illegal when done intentionally for profit or to access drugs without a medical need.

Potential penalties vary based on the specifics but may include both misdemeanor and felony charges. In Texas, for example, diversion convictions can lead to 2-10 years in prison depending on quantity and intent.

Building a Defense Strategy

Facing prescription fraud, forgery, or doctor shopping charges is undoubtedly stressful. However, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help build an effective legal strategy tailored to your unique situation. Common defense approaches may include:

Fighting Faulty Evidence

If the prosecution’s evidence is flawed or improperly collected, an attorney can file motions to suppress evidence or dismiss charges altogether. For example, if a search leading to charges violated your rights, the results may get thrown out.

Mitigating Circumstances

While prescription drug offenses are illegal, mitigating factors may persuade prosecutors to offer diversion programs, reduced charges/penalties, or even dismissals. Circumstances like addiction history, financial hardship, or lack of criminal history may help.

Sentence Mitigation

Even when charges stick, skilled criminal attorneys negotiate to minimize penalties. Strategies like cooperating with investigators, entering a drug court program, or providing information on larger distribution operations can lead to dramatically reduced sentences.

Finding the Right Lawyer

Building an effective defense requires finding a knowledgeable prescription drug crimes lawyer. Look for attorneys with specific experience handling fraud, forgery, doctor shopping, and diversion charges. When researching options, consider:

Experience Handling Similar Cases

Ask about the lawyer’s track record with relevant charges. An attorney who regularly represents diversion or doctor shopping cases will know the common defense strategies.

Familiarity with Local Courts and Prosecutors

Local familiarity often leads to better outcomes. Seek out lawyers who routinely work in the court system and with prosecutors handling your charges. They will know the typical penalties and diversion options.

Resources and Expert Witnesses

Prescription drug charges often require expert witnesses like doctors or pharmacists. Choose a larger firm with the resources and connections to access these experts. Check if they already work with forensic pharmacologists and medical professionals.

Personal Rapport

The attorney-client relationship is critical, especially for stressful criminal matters. Make sure to choose someone who makes you feel comfortable and gives your case proper attention. Personality and communication matter – not just credentials.

What Happens Next?

If you or a loved one gets hit with prescription drug criminal charges, the most important next step is contacting a defense lawyer immediately. The sooner an experienced attorney can start building a targeted defense, the higher the chances of a favorable outcome.

While terrifying initially, people are often able to reduce or dismiss fraud, forgery, and doctor shopping charges altogether through skillful legal representation. Don’t wait to seek counsel from a lawyer well-versed in these complex cases. The right defense strategy can make all the difference.

Additional Resources

I hope this overview gives you a helpful starting point for dealing with prescription drug criminal charges. Remember – experienced legal representation is critical. Don’t hesitate to seek out lawyers knowledgeable about building an effective defense against fraud, forgery, doctor shopping and diversion allegations. The sooner you contact counsel, the better. Best of luck moving forward.