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Federal law prohibits a person who doesn’t have a license to write prescriptions, to either sell, or give, prescription drugs to someone else under (21 U.S.C. § 841(a)). If a doctor or pharmacist, or someone else whose licensed to give medicine – knowingly sells or gives prescription drugs to someone who doesn’t have a need, or valid prescriptions, then he or she can be held liable. Selling can involve either being paid money, or agreeing to sell or exchange. The illegal sale of drugs has surged recently, thanks to pain meds such as Vicodin, and Percocet. There’s a huge demand for these drugs in a recreational manner, rather than for valid medical reasons. This has resulted in an increased in the illegal sales of prescription drugs. In addition, fake pain management clinics have sprung up, which are run by licensed individuals who write and fill these unnecessary and invalid prescriptions.
Illegal sale of the drug is a manner which is defined in several ways. For example, a person who has a valid prescription can be convicted of illegally selling drugs if he/she takes the drug and sells it to someone. A health care provider can be found guilty of writing a prescription which isn’t medically necessary, or for prescribing an amount which isn’t medically necessary. Pharmacists who knowingly fill an invalid prescription can also be charged with a crime.
What does the prosecution have to prove
Depending on how the alleged act occurred, there are many different plausible defenses. If you are accused of selling prescription drugs, then prosecutor has to prove that you knowingly sold or gave a prescription drug to someone who lacked a valid prescription. If the defendant is a health care provider, then the prosecutor has to prove the defendant intentionally wrote, or filled, the bogus prescription.
If you’re charged with illegally selling drugs, then defendants have to prove that you have no intent to sell the drugs, but simply possessed the drugs for personal use. If you’re a health care professional, then our team of lawyers will argue that you had medically valid reasons for writing the prescription. We find expert testimony that will support your claim, and prove you had no reason to suspect that you were filling an invalid prescription.
There are many possible penalties for the illegal sale of prescription drugs. Convictions for an illegal sale of prescription drug carries very severe penalties. Selling illegally is treated more seriously than simply possessing the drug As a result, a possession conviction can result in a fine or misdemeanor. However, an illegal sale conviction can result in a felony record – in addition to a prison term. Health care providers who are convicted of illegally selling prescription drugs face not only criminal penalties, but will also lose their license – and livelihood.
Here is some additional information that relates to the sale of drugs.
Sale of a Controlled Substance
Distribution of Amphetamines
Can I go to jail for selling fake drugs?
Hire our criminal defense lawyers
Being charged with illegally selling prescription drugs is a serious matter, which can rapidly escalate into a federal matter. It’s recommended that you speak to an attorney. Hiring a knowledgable criminal defense attorney can help ensure your freedom. The attorney you hire can help build a solid defense in your favor. Our attorneys can help convince either a prosecutor, or jury, that you had no intention to sell the drugs, and possessed it simply for personal use. This can result in no punishment, or lesser punishments. In addition, our criminal attorneys can help prevent loss of license of health care providers as well. Contact us for a risk free consultation.
Prescription drugs are meant for the person who they were prescribed to, in the amount allowed. You can go to jail, pay fines, or be convicted, for abuse, distribution, or unauthorized use of drugs. Every state has a different way of addressing illegal prescription drug use. If you have too many illegal drugs in your possession, it can cascade into drug distribution and possession. If that happens, you need an NYC criminal attorney to help.
Over the last few years, the DEA is focused on stopping the sale and distribution of prescription medication. They want to stop the illegal distributions of drugs like oxycodone, percocet, hydrocodone, and others. Many healthcare professionals, and users, have come under the microscope. An allegation of fraud, or intent to distribute, can ruin your reputation.
You could be charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, health care fraud, security fraud, and face other federal charges.
When investigating federal drug fraud, or illegal distribution, the Federal Government will look at things like prescriptions filed, patient records, records from the pharmacy, and a wide array of other data about the doctor, the pharmacy, and patients. They’ll speak to your employees, and patients. They may even come during normal business hours, during their investigation. In some cases, you’ll be issued a grand jury subpoena, for records, or testimony pertaining to your business. It’s critical during these stressful times, you hire an NYC criminal lawyer to help. Our former prosecutors have years of experience – helping you at every step of your investigation.
Prescription Drug Fraud Punishments
Prescription drug fraud cases are prosecuted as health care fraud cases, and illegal drug distribution cases. Healthcare fraud cases have a maximum penalty of 10 years, whereas illegal drug distribution laws have a penalty as much as life imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine. Illegal drug distribution has been used to help prosecutors provide severe penalties to healthcare professionals who are distributing prescription medicine which was not medically necessary. Under Title 21, Section 841, it’s illegal for anyone to intentionally distribute a controlled substance – unless it’s done so under the regulations of the laws. That means doctors and pharmacies are under scrutiny, since they are the agents that are legally authorized to distribute controlled substances. If the physician distributes it while knowing it’s not medically necessary – this can become a serious Federal offense.
In any illegal drug distribution case, the prosecutor will look for criminal elements that prove there was malice. First, the defendant has to sell, or give, the controlled substance – while knowing it wasn’t medically necessary. In addition, the defendant has to do so knowingly, or intentionally. Third, the defendant has to know the substance was a controlled substance. In some cases, healthcare professionals with good intentions may get in trouble – for what they thought was a good willed move to help a patient. In other cases, we’ve seen colleagues of a fraud-conducting healthcare provider get in trouble. Regardless of what you did, a conviction for illegal drug distribution could signal the end of your career. If the DEA searches your office, or home, you need to speak to an NYC criminal attorney immediately.
Other useful articles
New York State Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medication
From Witness to Target: Potential Exposure & Consequences of a Federal Investigation
Understanding the Federal Arrest Process: The Importance of Knowledgeable Counsel
Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Understanding Your Criminal Exposure
Understanding Federal Subpoenas: How the Government Can Force You to Appear
Federal Arrest Warrant: What it Means & Your Next Steps
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