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NY Penal Law § 220.65: Criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance

June 24, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

NY Penal Law § 220.65: Criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance

In an effort to tackle the problem of abuse of prescription drugs, New York Penal Code section 220.65 makes it illegal to sell a prescription for a controlled substance for an unlawful use. You must be a physician, dentist, podiatrist, scientific investigator, veterinarian, or other person licensed or permitted to conduct research involving controlled substances as defined in Public Health Law § 3302 in order to be charged with this offense. If such a person were to sell a prescription for a controlled substance for a reason other than as a good faith act in the normal course of his or her professional practice, then that licensed practitioner could be prosecuted for this offense.

 

Some Examples

A psychiatrist has been writing prescriptions for a patient regularly over a 2 month period.  The prescriptions were for a controlled substance. The psychiatrist wrote these prescriptions with the knowledge that the patient intended to illegally sell the pills on the street. In another instance, the same psychiatrist regularly wrote prescriptions for a controlled substance to another patient who the psychiatrist knew to be a drug addict. This psychiatrist could be prosecuted for criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance on the basis of the fact that, in both cases, he wrote prescriptions for a reason other than a good faith act in the normal course of his professional practice.

 

Offenses that are Related

Criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument: New York Penal Code § 220.45

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 220.43

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 220.41

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree: New York Penal Code § 220.39

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree: New York Penal Code § 220.34

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree: New York Penal Code § 220.31

 

Possible Defenses

If you can demonstrate that you wrote the prescription for a valid medical reason, then you would have a solid defense to a charge of criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance. Additionally, if you can demonstrate that you wrote the prescription as a good faith act in the normal course of your professional practice, but without your knowledge, your patient then sold the drugs illegally on the street, then you may be able to successfully defend this charge.

 

The Sentence

Due to the fact that criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance is categorized as a class C felony, if you are convicted, your possible sentence will be as many as 15 years in prison. The minimum sentence that the judge would be obligated to give you is either 3 1/2 or 7 years.  Which minimum applies to you is dependent upon whether or not you have a prior felony conviction on your record. You will also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $15,000.

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