As the rate of prescription drug use significantly increases every year, law enforcement authorities nationwide have doubled down on their efforts to deter the illegal possession of prescription drugs. But with potent prescription drugs becoming the ultimate choice drugs for many users, people who are hooked may go to great lengths to feed their addiction.
Addicted prescription drug users have been known to do just about anything to obtain drugs like Adderall, Percocet, and Xanax. These attempts are fueled by an unhealthy yearning for illegal drugs, which in the eyes of rehabilitative specialists and researchers, is seen as an illness. But in Pennsylvania, however, these actions are perceived as unlawful and punishable behavior. In the event that a person has been caught acquiring a controlled substance by fraud, he or she will likely face dire criminal charges.
If you have been arrested and charged with this crime, it is critical that you understand what you're up against. Knowing your state's approach and remedies to issues involving drugs will help you make informed decisions, and will hopefully compel you to seek legal counsel. For the purposes of this article, we will address (1) Pennsylvania's laws concerning prescription fraud, (2) the penalties commonly associated with this crime, and (3) the pivotal role of an attorney in these cases.
Acquiring a Controlled Substance by Fraud in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, the crime of “acquiring a controlled substance by fraud” is constituted when a prosecutor can prove that a defendant possessed a controlled substance by “misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge.” Essentially, the state prohibits people from obtaining controlled substances in a dishonest, deceptive or fraudulent fashion.
Examples of drug fraud would be forging a prescription to obtain drugs, or modifying the prescription dosage on a prescription to obtain more prescription drugs.
Drug fraud is penalized uniquely based on a number of factors. Courts will assess the type of drugs involved, the quantity of the drugs confiscated, the “schedule” this drug is assigned to, a defendant's criminal record, and more relevant information to determine the severity of a sentence. Defendants convicted of drug fraud are generally penalized as follows:
- The crime involved a schedule 1 or 2 narcotic drugs: up to 15 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
- The crime involved meth, cocaine, or marijuana in excess of 1,000 pounds: up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
- The crime involved non-narcotic schedule 1, 2, or 3 drugs: up to five years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine.
- The crime involved schedule 4 drugs: up to three years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
- The crime involved schedule 5 drugs: up to one year in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with the crime of “acquiring a controlled substance by fraud,” it's important you immediately contact an attorney. Skilled legal professional attorney Joseph D. Lento understands that drug addiction is a sickness that can urge you to do things you never thought you would do. He's represented clients who have been charged with felony and misdemeanor drug crimes under Pennsylvania law, and has fought to achieve the best outcome for his clients. Whether that be drug treatment, a reduced sentence, or a complete dismissal of your case depends on your individualized circumstances. Contact him today.