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Los Angeles Forging or Altering a Prescription Lawyers

Los Angeles Forging or Altering a Prescription Lawyers

Only licensed healthcare professionals can legally write prescriptions, and any tampering with a prescription is a serious offense. Anyone accused of forging or altering a prescription faces prosecution, jail time and fines. But, an accusation of a crimes is not an automatic conviction, especially with the help of experienced legal counsel who understands the law, the charges and how to defend against them.

Business and Professions Code 4324
California Business and Professions Code 4324 states it is a crime to forge a prescription, alter it, pass it off as genuine or sign another person’s name on the script. It does not matter if the false signature belongs to a real or fictitious person, and it does not matter the type of drug prescribed. It also makes it a crime to possess drugs gained with an altered or forged prescription. Penal Code 4324 is a wobbler offense, meaning prosecutors have the option of charging a person with misdemeanor or a felony. To determine which charge to pursue, prosecutors consider the circumstances of the crime and the criminal history of the accused.

• Misdemeanor Penalties
o Fine: Up to $1,000
o Jail: Up to a year in county jail
o Probation: Up to three years
• Felony Penalties
o Fine: Up to $10,000
o Jail: 16 months to three years in state prison
o Possible Probation

Health and Safety Code 11368
California Health and Safety Code 11368 is similar to Business and Professions Code 4324 but specifically covers narcotics. Under Code 11368, it is illegal to alter or forge a prescription for drugs such as morphine, Demerol, codeine and Fentanyl. It is also illegal to use an altered or forged prescription to get or try to get narcotics. Code 11368 is also a wobbler offense, meaning charges may be a misdemeanor or felony.

• Misdemeanor Penalties
o Fine: Up to $1,000
o Jail: Six months to one year county jail sentence
o Possible Probation
• Felony Penalties
o Fine: Up to $20,000
o Jail: 16 months to three years in state prison

The Best Defense
Each charge of altering or forging a prescription is different, so the defense mounted to fight the charges needs to consider the circumstances and the person accused. Remember, it is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove you actually altered or forged a prescription, knew that it was altered or forged, or that your intent was to defraud by using the forged or altered script. The best way to start a defense against these allegation is to find an attorney experienced in this area. Possible defenses include the following.

• Argue the script was a legitimate prescription written by a licensed healthcare professional
• Argue that police found the drugs by violating state search and seizure laws
• Proclaim ignorance
o State that you did not know the drugs were in or on your property
o State that you did not know the prescription was altered or forged
o State that you did not know the drugs were obtained with an altered or forged prescription
• Argue that, although you had a forged or altered prescription, you did not use it and did not try to use it

Any type of prescription fraud is a serious crime with potentially harsh consequences. Anyone in the Loas Angeles area accused of this crime needs a good understanding of the law to successfully defend themselves. Without personal legal knowledge, finding a criminal defense attorney with experience in this area is the best option. Even for those guilty of tampering with a written prescription, legal options are available to minimize the severity of penalties, and they should contact an attorney to find out their rights and options.

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