Gillette Prescription Drug Fraud Defense Attorney
While most people assume drug charges are only related to illegal substances such as heroin or meth, prescription medication is also heavily regulated by the state of Wyoming. Our state has strict laws about who can have certain medications, who can distribute them, and when they can be used. Using certain medications without a prescription is not only dangerous for your health, but it can also put you on the wrong side of the law. In addition, pharmacies and doctors must be careful about how a medication is distributed, as they may be found to have violated prescription drug laws.
If you or someone you loved has been charged with prescription drug fraud, then you need a staunch legal defense to protect your rights. At Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., our Gillette prescription drug fraud defense attorneys have extensive experience defending Campbell County residents and fighting back against allegations of fraud. To begin preparing your defense case, call us at (307) 257-7800.
Prescription drugs are any medications that require a medical doctor’s prescription to obtain and use. These medications are referred to as controlled substances, meaning they are medication that can only be used based on certain federal and state laws. While some prescription drugs are only used to treat certain medical conditions, others have a risk of causing addiction, which is why they are so tightly regulated.
Common types of controlled prescription drugs include:
When these drugs are used or distributed without a prescription, it can constitute prescription drug fraud. Prescription drug charges can fall into several different categories depending on the nature of the crime and as outlined under W.S. 35-7-1033. Simply put, the law states that is illegal for any individual to acquire controlled substances through fraud, which can mean lying, creating forged prescriptions, deception, misrepresentation, or subterfuge.
Actions that can lead to a prescription drug charge include:
- Lying to a doctor about a medical condition to receive medication
- Forging a doctor’s signature on a prescription
- Forging a prescription to receive large quantities of a drug
- Doctor shopping, or seeing multiple doctors to receive the same medication
- Purchasing prescription drugs through unregulated online pharmacies
- Overcharging an insurance provider, Medicaid, or Medicare for medication
- Prescribing a medication without a medical reason
- Distributing a controlled substance without a prescription
Both doctors and patients can be charged with prescription drug fraud, as it is illegal to both possess controlled substances without a prescription and distribute controlled substances without a medically approved reason.
The specific charges may vary depending on your case, including the type of controlled substance, the amount involved, and whether or not it was manufactured or trafficked, but the main charges that can be filed against you include:
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Intent to sell a controlled substance
- Distribution of a controlled substance
- Trafficking a controlled substance
- Manufacturing a controlled substance
In addition, driving while under the influence of certain prescription drugs can also lead to a drugged DUI charge. Many medications are required to have warnings that state the user must not operate a large vehicle after taking a certain dosage, which includes driving a car.
Being charged with a drug crime can have serious ramifications on your life, especially if it involves a prescription drug. Controlled substances are meant to be distributed and used under specific circumstances. Each case varies depending on the type of medication and charge, but any violations of that can lead to jail time, fines, treatment programs, and additional penalties depending on the type of fraud you are charged with.
In addition to punishment by the Wyoming criminal justice system, doctors and pharmacies can lose their medical licenses if the court determines that they illegally distributed prescription medication. While the courts will look into your criminal history and past offenses in determining your punishment, even first-time offenders can have their lives completely changed for a single charge. That is why it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible so that we can begin preparing your defense.
Fighting a prescription drug charge is not easy, as both state and federal agencies are committed to clamping down on any violations and will want to make an example of you. But, with the right attorney, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dropped by building a defense around:
- Illegal search and seizures: If the investigating officers illegally searched your property, including your clothing, home, or vehicle, then any medication or evidence they acquire would not be acceptable in court.
- You were a victim of fraud: While doctors should always verify a patient’s medical condition before writing a prescription, they cannot always be expected to uncover every lie. If a patient lied or used fraud to receive medication, then the doctor could not be held liable for providing a prescription.
- Lack of intent: Fraud is based on intent, and if you can show that you did not intend to commit fraud and that there was merely miscommunication with a pharmacy or doctor, then you cannot be convicted of it.
- You were not aware of the medication: It is not uncommon for family members or friends to share over-the-counter medication, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. It is possible you accidentally used someone else’s prescription medication when you thought it was a standard over-the-counter pill and were not aware that it was illegal.
Prescription drug fraud can have far-reaching effects on your life. In addition to your punishment under the law, you may also face damage to your reputation and even your livelihood. But there is help out there and you do not have to go up against your charges on your own. If you have been charged with prescription drug fraud in Campbell County, contact a Gillette criminal defense attorney at Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. Our legal team can review your charges and prepare a thorough defense strategy. Call us at (307) 257-7800 to learn what your options are under the law.
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