Protecting Your Legal Rights Since 1994

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Drug Charges
  4.  » Penalties and defenses for prescription drug misuse

Penalties and defenses for prescription drug misuse

If a person is accused of a crime involving prescription drugs, there can be serious consequences. There are several examples of these crimes and there are potential defenses to consider.

Prescription drug crimes

Prescription fraud involves forging a prescription or changing the dosage. It may also include obtaining multiple prescriptions by visiting several different doctors for the same medication.

Doctors can violate the law by writing medically unnecessary prescriptions or authorizing large quantities of medication. As a result, they may lose their medical license.

It is also against the law to possess or distribute medication without a valid prescription, including selling or sharing it with others. If a person steals medication from a hospital or pharmacy, that is also a crime.

Penalties can range from fines and community service to jail time and a permanent criminal record. In addition to criminal penalties, a person can be barred from using a pharmacy or as a patient from a medical practice. These patients may also have a note added to their medical record that warns other providers of their drug seeking behavior.

The accused person may have difficulty finding employment and their reputation may suffer.

Potential defenses

The defenses may vary depending on the circumstances of the incident. However, there are some examples.

If the accused person had a valid prescription for the medication, that may be a defense because it shows that they possessed it legally. Also, if the medication was located by law enforcement because of an unlawful search and seizure, that may also be a defense.

There is help available to determine which defense may apply.