Prescription Drug Fraud
When most people think of illegal drugs, they think of heroin or cocaine. However, you can still be arrested and charged with a crime for obtaining prescription drugs illegally. In Texas, you must have a certified physician write you up a prescription for the possession to be lawful. Obtaining it through fraudulent or deceptive means could lead to a criminal charge.
There are many ways people might attempt to obtain prescription drugs, including:
- Using someone else’s prescription and ID to obtain drugs.
- Using a pen to alter the amount of an existing prescription to get a greater quantity.
- Calling the pharmacy, saying you are a doctor and use a false registration number to call in a prescription.
- Stealing a prescription pad from the doctor’s office.
- Using a graphics program to create a false prescription.
Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, so legislators in Texas have implemented harsh penalties for those using fraudulent means to obtain prescriptions. The charge also includes physicians, nurses or any person unlawfully prescribing medications to patients or distributing prescriptions. These charges are incredibly serious and can lead to harsh prison sentences if you don’t have effective legal representation.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for prescription drug fraud, it’s important you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Georgetown Prescription Drug Fraud Lawyer in TX
If you’ve been accused of prescription fraud in Williamson or Bell County, Price & Twine, PLLC may be the right choice for your case. Michael J. Price is a passionate defender and has years of experience to prove it. He can examine the allegations, collect evidence, file motions, call expert witnesses and do whatever’s possible to represent you effectively.
Get in contact with the Law Office of Michael J. Price, today at (512) 354-1880 to discuss your charges. Michael J. Price represents those accused of drug crimes in Bell County and Williamson County including Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander, Taylor, Hutto, Killeen, Temple, Belton and Harker Heights.
Overview of Prescription Drug Fraud in Texas
- Prescription Fraud Law in Texas
- Examples of Illegal Prescription Drugs
- U.S. Drug Schedules
- Penalties for Prescription Drug Fraud
- Additional Resources
Prescription Fraud Law in Texas
When people use deceit or fraudulent means to receive prescription drugs or a prescription it’s considered to be prescription fraud. The crime can be committed in various ways including forging prescriptions or lying about various symptoms to a physician.
Texas Penal Code Section 481.129 states a person commits prescription drug fraud if they are:
- A licensed dispenser and unlawfully distributes a Schedule I or II controlled substance;
- Utilizes a fake, revoked, suspended or another person’s Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number to obtain a prescription;
- Fake or forges a signature to receive a prescription;
- Uses another’s prescription unlawfully;
- Receives or attempts to receive a prescription or an increased dose of a prescription drug by doing one or more of the following:
- Using deception, fraud, or misrepresentation;
- Making or buying a fraudulent prescription form for the drug; or
- Receives a prescription drug by using a fraudulent oral prescription such as giving a prescription out over the phone
- Add fraudulent or false information or omits information from a record, report, or application or any other documents that can be used to write a prescription;
- Lies about symptoms, etc to obtain a prescription drug or an increased dose of a prescription drug from an authorized dispenser or physician;
- Delivers, manufacturers, possesses with intent to deliver a counterfeit prescription;
- Delivers or possesses a prescription for a controlled substance for anything other than a valid medical purpose whilst doing their duties as a medical professional
Examples of Illegal Prescription Drugs
The Controlled Substances Act lists drugs that are illegal to possess without a properly obtained prescription. The recreational use of these drugs has skyrocketed over the years thanks to instances like the Opioid Crisis. Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs are:
- Oxycontin, or oxymorphone.
- Xanax, or alprazolam.
- Adderall, or other amphetamines.
- Valium, or diazepam.
- Vicodin, or hydrocodone.
- Demerol, or meperidine.
Penalties for possession of prescription drugs depend on the type of drugs you are alleged to possess and how much you are accused of possessing. Many prescription drugs are in Penalty Group 3, which is associated with serious penalties.
U.S. Drug Schedules
What’s unique about prescription drug fraud is that the penalties are decided based on the U.S. Drug Schedules rather than the local Texas Penalty Groups. These schedules are simply a way for the government to organize controlled substances based on their medicinal usage and if they have a high potential for addiction. You can find these schedules in the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).
Listed below is a drug schedule chart to determine the penalties for prescription drug fraud.
|Schedule I||Drugs under schedule I have little to no medical usage with the highest potential for chemical dependency.||Heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), peyote, marijuana, ecstasy and methaqualone|
|Schedule II||Controlled substances under this schedule have a high risk of recreational abuse and can lead to physical dependence.||Fentanyl, Adderall, oxycodone, Dexedrine, cocaine, Ritalin, methamphetamines (meth) and methadone.|
|Schedule III||Substances with a moderate and low potential of drug abuse can be found here. Some schedule III drugs can be used in the medical field.||Ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone, and Tylenol with codeine.|
|Schedule IV||Schedule IV substances have a low risk of chemical dependency and is used frequently in medicine.||Ambien, Xanax, Darvon, Talwin, Ativan, Valium, Darvocet, and Tramadol|
|Schedule V||Drugs with a low potential for abuse are under this category. Most Schedule V drugs can be in a medical setting.||Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, and Robitussin AC.|
Penalties for Prescription Drug Fraud in Texas
The consequences associated with prescription fraud are nothing to take lightly. Many prescription drug crimes are classified as felonies, which means you could be sentenced to prison. The penalties for the crime depend on the U.S. Drug Schedule the prescription is listed under and the facts surrounding the crime.
Prescription drug fraud involving a Schedule V drug is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- Up to 12 months in jail; and
- A fine of up to $4,000
If the crime involved a Schedule III or IV drug, then it’s reclassified as a third-degree felony. The penalties for a third-degree felony include:
- Up to 10 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $10,000
Offenders who commit prescription drug fraud to obtain a Schedule I or II substance is a second-degree felony. The charge is the same if you deliver a prescription form or a prescription for a Schedule II drug to another person who isn’t lawfully prescribed.
The consequences for a second-degree felony are:
- Up to 20 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $10,000
Manufacturing, delivering or possessing with intent to deliver a counterfeit prescription drug is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- Up to 12 months in jail; and
- A fine of up to $4,000
Texas Drug Prescription Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Health and Safety Code to learn more about their laws for prescription fraud and other related crimes. Access the penalties, elements, legal definitions, admissible defenses and other crimes related to prescription fraud.
Drug Schedules – Visit the official website of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to learn more about the United States Drug Schedules. Access the site to learn which drugs are under which schedules, facts about controlled substances and more related information.
Round Rock Prescription Drug Attorney in Texas
Have you been accused of prescription drug fraud to unlawfully obtain a controlled substance? If so, then we highly suggest you have legal representation fit for the job. One great option is to contact Price & Twine, PLLC for quality legal counsel. Michael J. Price is an experienced attorney with years of practice he can utilize for your case.
If you face drug possession charges relating to prescription drugs or prescription fraud charges, Georgetown criminal defense lawyer Michael J. Price can fight for you. Contact Law Office of Michael J. Price today at (512) 354-1880. He practices throughout the greater Willamson County and Bell County, Texas area.
This article was last updated on December 4th, 2019.