If you have been charged with prescription fraud in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, or elsewhere in Pinellas County, you should talk to a drug crime attorney as soon as possible. The State of Florida prosecutes drug crimes zealously, and a guilty verdict may result in harsh punishments that include jail time, fines, and other penalties. Even the mere status of being a convicted felon sometimes has lifelong implications. To pursue a favorable outcome in your case, it is important to seek effective legal counsel as soon as possible after you have been arrested or have learned that you may be the target of an investigation. Knowledgeable St. Petersburg and Clearwater prescription fraud lawyer Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law has been handling these cases for over two decades, and he welcomes the opportunity to assist you in defending yourself against a prescription fraud or other drug charge.How Prescription Fraud Cases Differ from Other Drug Crimes Under Florida Law
One of the primary features that distinguish a prescription fraud case from other drug crime cases is the fact that the substance in question is legal to possess under certain circumstances. (By contrast, it is never legal to use, sell, or traffic in substances like heroin or cocaine.) Some of the more common prescription drugs involved in prescription fraud cases include OxyContin, Percocet, Hydrocodone, Demerol, Codeine, Zanax, and Valium. However, this is not an exclusive list, and a prescription fraud charge is possible with regard to many different types of medications.
Another distinguishing characteristic in regard to prescription fraud cases is that a defendant may be prosecuted not only for possessing, selling, or trafficking in these controlled substances but also for stealing blank prescription pads, altering or forging prescriptions, and even “doctor shopping” to acquire multiple prescriptions for a drug for which the defendant may have a legitimate medical need. A prescription fraud attorney in Clearwater or St. Petersburg can explain in more detail when these charges may arise.
Additionally, physicians and pharmacists may face charges under certain facets of Florida’s prescription fraud laws. Even an “attempt” to acquire a controlled prescription drug by misrepresentation, forgery, deception, or fraud is punishable by law. This means that a defendant may be sent to prison for prescription fraud even if they never actually had the drugs in their possession.
Because of the complexity of Florida’s prescription fraud laws, it is often difficult to predict the punishment in a given case without knowing all of the details of the defendant’s situation. A few prescription fraud crimes are misdemeanors, but most are felonies that may lead to anywhere from a few years to decades in prison, plus a hefty fine. There is a substantial difference between illegal possession of a prescription drug and trafficking in fraudulently acquired prescription medicines. The more of the controlled substance that is found in the actual or constructive possession of the defendant, the more time that they face, generally speaking.Fight Your Charges with the Help of a Prescription Fraud Lawyer in Clearwater or St. Petersburg
As with other criminal offenses, there are several possible defenses in a prescription fraud case. Some defenses are specific to a given crime, while others are more general and based on either state statutory law or the U.S. Constitution. Seasoned drug possession and drug trafficking attorney Will Hanlon has been representing defendants in these cases for over two decades. He can help you go over the precise details of your case and formulate a defense strategy tailored to your specific situation. For an appointment to discuss your case with a St. Petersburg or Clearwater prescription fraud attorney, call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or contact us online. We also serve defendants in Newport Richey, Dade City, and the surrounding areas. When so much is at stake, retaining private counsel rather than settling for the services of a public defender may be a critical step to take in averting or minimizing the consequences of a charge.