Los Angeles Prescription Drug Crimes Lawyer
If you are accused of a crime involving the illegal possession of prescription drugs, it’s important to have the legal help from an experienced California prescription drug attorney. At Spolin Law P.C., we’re able to provide you with a strong and practical defense to minimize, and if possible, eliminate the potential consequences of the charges you are facing.
Common California Prescription Drug Offenses
While it is certainly legal to possess and take prescription drugs for necessary medical purposes, there are also situations in which it is unlawful to have and use these drugs. Various criminal charges can apply under California’s Health and Safety Code (HSC) based on the specific alleged offense.
Possession of Prescription Drugs – HSC Section 11350
Under this section of the HSC, the possession of any usable amount of unlawfully prescribed controlled substances is prohibited. This can include prescription drugs such as Vicodin or other powerful illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin as well. A November 2014 ballot initiative in California – Proposition 47 – reduced certain offenses involving drug possession from felonies to misdemeanors. The sentences of many who qualify under Proposition 47 include up to one year in prison, with others avoiding jail time due to their eligibility for and successful completion of a drug diversion program. Others who do not qualify under Proposition 47 are charged and sentenced for illegal possession of prescription drugs based on the quantity of the drug they possessed and any previous convictions.
Use of Prescription Drugs – HSC Section 11350
Without a lawful prescription provided through a physician, it is illegal to use or be under the influence of a controlled substance. You are not permitted to take another person’s prescribed medication or purchase medication that is prescribed for someone else. Violating this law will leave you open to a misdemeanor charge which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail. You may, however, be eligible for probation or a drug diversion program.
Possession for Sale – HSC Section 11351
It is unlawful to possess a controlled substance of any type with the intent to sell it to another party. You can be charged with possession for sale, whether or not you possessed the substance legally with a valid prescription, or illegally. This crime is a felony and carries a penalty of three to five years in prison.
Sale or Transportation – HSC Section 11352
The actions of selling, importing, transporting, furnishing, or giving away a controlled substance or proposing to carry out one or more of these actions is prohibited under HSC Section 11352. Even the illegal possession of prescription drugs in a small quantity in connection with the above described actions can leave you with a felony charge under this section, carrying a penalty of three to five years in prison.
This offense can escalate to a federal crime if you are accused of transporting the prescription drugs across a state line – for instance, either from another state into California, or to another state into California.
Prescription Drug Fraud – HSC Section 11173
This section of the HSC prohibits something commonly known as doctor shopping. This involves prescription drug fraud which can be carried out in a number of ways, including:
- Procuring or attempting to procure a prescription drug from a medical professional through deceit, fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation of material fact
- Making a false representation of oneself or using the title of a wholesaler, manufacturer, physician, pharmacist, veterinarian, dentist, physician’s assistant, or registered nurse for the purpose of procuring a controlled substance
- Making a false statement in an order, prescription, report, or record
- Placing a forged or otherwise false label to a receptacle or package that contains one or more controlled substances
This is a “wobbler,” meaning the prosecutor has discretion to charge this crime as a misdemeanor or felony.
Other Consequences of Prescription Drug Crimes
You may incur additional consequences as a result of a prescription drug crime conviction. These include:
- Obligation to pay heavy fines
- Having a permanent criminal record
- Loss or inability to obtain a professional license or certification
- Significantly reduced renting/housing options
- Ineligibility for college financial aid
Possible Defenses to Prescription Drug Crimes
If you’re facing a charge of illegal possession of prescription drugs, a skilled and experienced attorney can employ one or more defenses on your behalf. These defenses may include:
- You had a proper prescription for the drugs in question
- You were entrapped by law enforcement
- The police did not have probable cause to stop your vehicle
- The evidence was unlawfully collected
- Police misconduct occurred
- Your arrest was not lawful
- Your Constitutional rights were violated
- The drug test results were compromised
Contact an Experienced California Prescription Drug Crimes Attorney
If you are staring down an illegal possession of prescription drugs or other associated charge, you need an experienced attorney in these matters to properly defend you. At Spolin Law P.C., we can build a defense on your behalf that intelligently and aggressively fights the charges against you.