Prescription Fraud Crimes
Prescription fraud is a crime that can happen fairly easily. Individuals recovering from a painful surgery can become dependent on Vicodin or other prescription drugs to kill the pain. There are various controlled substances that qualify as prescription drugs. A Schedule II drug has a high potential for abuse; however, it is currently accepted for medical use in treatment in the U.S. or it has been currently accepted for medical use and subjected to restrictions such as opioid and other pain relivers. This can lead to shopping around for cooperative doctors willing to give prescription drugs, or even foregoing prescription sheets altogether. These types of circumstances lead to serious addiction which may lead to prescription fraud charges.
Obtaining a prescription under false pretenses is a criminal offense in the state of Utah. Prescription fraud is a felony offense a defendant is facing hefty fines, having to serve time in jail or prison, as well as other collateral consequences such as having a criminal record. Per Utah Code §58-37-8(2)(a)(iii), it is unlawful for a person to knowingly and intentionally possess an altered or forged prescription or written order for a controlled substance. Additionally, there are other circumstances that can cause an individual to be charged with possessing or attempting to possess a prescription drug. If you have been charged with prescription drug fraud, it is in your best interest to consult with a legal professional. There are many other prescription drug related offenses that a defendant can be charged with.
Having legal representation can prepare you with a solid defense, make sure your best interest is represented, and protect your freedom. An experienced and qualified prescription fraud defense attorney can provide you with legal advice fitted to your circumstances.
Prescription Fraud Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City
As an experienced defense attorney, Susanne Gustin will work tirelessly to achieve the most favorable outcome for your case. She will address your concerns and ensure that you are fully knowledgeable about the progress of your case. If you are charged with prescription fraud or other narcotics offenses, it is vital that you obtain legal representation. Having a drug offense on your record is extremely damaging to your future. If you or a loved one is facing charges for possession of a forged prescription, it is highly recommended to contact a Utah prescription fraud lawyer. Susanne Gustin has over 30 years of experience with a stellar reputation for aggressively defending her clients.
If you are facing charges for prescription fraud, possession of a forged prescription, and/or any drug related offense, acquiring a skilled and knowledgeable prescription fraud attorney in the earliest stages of your case can improve the chances of a favorable outcome. Call Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law at (801) 243-2814 or submit an online form to schedule a free consultation. Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law represents clients in Salt Lake County, Alta, Mount Olympus, Cottonwood West, East Millcreek, Herriman, East Layton, West Bountiful, Fruit Heights, Cottonwood Heights, West Valley City, West Jordan, Sandy, and South Jordan.
Utah Prescription Fraud Information Center
- Prescription Fraud in Utah
- Penalties for Prescription Fraud
- Utah Drug Schedules
- Additional Resources for Prescription Fraud
Prescription Fraud in Utah
Prescription drug fraud is on the rise in Utah. With more Americans using prescription drugs, some of them end up addicted and resort to fraud when their prescription runs out. Obtaining a prescription through deceit or fraud is a serious crime in Utah. According to Utah law, it’s against the law to knowingly and intentionally possess or use a prescription drug unless it was obtained with a valid prescription from a physician acting within their practice. Utah Code § 58-37-2 defines “prescription” as an order issued by a licensed practitioner during the course of their professional practice or by collaborative practice agreement for a controlled substance, any other prescription drug, and/or device use by a patient or an animal.
Generally, there are several circumstances that can lead a law enforcement officer to arrest an alleged offender for possessing or attempting to possess a prescription drug. Below are some circumstantial situations in which an offender could be arrested for possessing fraudulent prescription or attempting to possess a prescription drug:
- Visiting multiple doctors to try an obtain various prescriptions
- Purchasing and/or selling a forged prescription
- Impersonating medical staff and contacting a pharmacy to obtain a fill or refill of a prescription
- Impersonating an individual to steal their prescription
- Stealing another person’s prescription
- Forging a medical professional and/or a physician’s signature to a prescription
- Altering the medication and/or the amount of the medication that was prescribed by the doctor and/or physician.
Penalties for Prescription Fraud
In Utah, prescription fraud can be punishable by a wide array of penalties depending on the circumstances of your case. Some determining factors include the amount of the substance, the type of substance, prior convictions, age, and harm caused to another during the offense. Penalties for prescription fraud may also be increased depending on the location of the act, and whether the actor used a weapon. Some penalties for prescription fraud include the following:
- Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail, and/or maximum fines of $1,000;
- Class A misdemeanors may result in up to one year in jail, and/or a maximum fine of $2,500;
- Third degree felonies carry a punishment of up to five years imprisonment and/or a maximum of $5,000;
- Second-degree felonies have a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and/or $10,000 in fines; and
- First-degree felonies carry the most severe penalties with anywhere from five years to life imprisonment, and/or a maximum of $10,000 in fines.
*As of May 12, 2015, individuals on probation for possession of Schedule I or II controlled substances are Category I restricted persons banned from buying or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons.*
Utah Drug Schedules
Utah code categorizes different drugs into “Schedules” in order of abuse potential, the risk of dependence, and accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. These Schedules are as follows:
- Schedule I substances – this includes substances with high abuse potential and have not been accepted as standard for safe use for medical treatment.
- Schedule II substances – this group includes substances with high potential abuse; which are currently accepted for medical use in treatment in the U.S.; or which have been currently accepted for medical use subject to restrictions; and abuse of said substance may lead to severe dependence.
- Schedule III substances – include drugs with less potential for abuse than Schedules I and II; are currently accepted for medical use in U.S. treatment; and abuse of said substance may result in low to moderate physiological dependence, or high psychological dependence.
- Schedule IV substances – include drugs which have a low potential for abuse; which are currently accepted for medical use in U.S. treatment; and abuse may lead to limited physiological dependence or psychological dependence.
- Schedule V substances – include drugs with a low potential for abuse relative to Schedule IV; which is currently accepted for medical use; and has limited abuse potential relative to Schedule IV.
Additional Resources for Prescription Fraud
Utah Department of Health | Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) – The program attempts to prevent and minimize the harm and it is mainly focused on program areas that contribute to health outcomes. The program promotes laws and policies that support safe communities, it also improves access and utilization to physical and behavioral health care. The website provides resources for individuals suffering from substance addiction such as opioid.
National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse (NCAPDA) – The non-profit organization was established to prevent prescription drug and/or opioid related substance abuse. It partners with colleges, communities, schools, and medical and law enforcements agencies as well as other agencies to help increase awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and/or misuse.
Prescription Fraud Lawyer in Salt Lake County
If you find yourself facing prescription drug charges, call Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law at (801) 243-2814 to speak with an experienced attorney regarding your options and the next steps. Do not take these charges lightly since they can have life changing consequences. A criminal record can create barriers for future employment, educational, and housing opportunities.
You need a lawyer on your side to work diligently toward your freedom. Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law represents clients in Davis County, East Layton, West Bountiful, Fruit Heights, Midvale, Riverton, Taylorsville, Clearfield, Cottonwood Heights, West Valley City, West Jordan, Sandy, South Jordan and surrounding areas. Call (801) 243-2814 now to schedule a free, initial consultation.