Orange County Prescription Drug Lawyer
Representing Clients Accused of Prescription Drug Offenses in Orange County
Prescription drugs fall into the category of "controlled substances" that are legal to use and possess, but only under certain circumstances. California prosecutors charge individuals with crimes when they possess prescription drugs without a prescription, when they sell those drugs, and when they use fraudulent means to obtain the drugs.
Although the unauthorized possession or sale of any prescription drug is illegal in California, prosecutors tend to target the drugs that are most widely abused. Opiate addiction is a serious problem that should be addressed by the healthcare system. Unfortunately, when users of narcotics and other prescription drugs acquire or use the drugs illegally, they become part of the criminal justice system.
Individuals who are accused of selling prescription drugs are often prosecuted unjustly. Some patients sell their medications because they are impoverished. Other sellers use prescription drug sales to fund their addictions. Those situations would be better addressed by the healthcare and social services systems than by the criminal justice system, but thousands of unfortunate Southern Californians are prosecuted every year for prescription drug crimes. Even worse, many individuals charged with prescription drug crimes have been falsely accused.
A prescription drug defense lawyer can provide vital protection against prosecutions that can threaten careers, reputations, and freedom. At the Law Offices of Randy Collins, we guide individuals who need help overcoming an addiction to recovery professionals while arguing for criminal justice dispositions that recognize the benefit of treatment rather than punishment. In other cases, we provide an aggressive defense designed to keep damaging evidence from being used against the accused and to create a reasonable doubt about guilt.
Prescription Drug Prosecution in California
The most widely abused prescription drugs in California are narcotics. They typically have properties that are similar to those of morphine. OxyContin, the trade name given to a time-release medication that contains oxycodone, is the illicit narcotic that is most often involved in prosecutions. Oxycodone is also the key ingredient in Percodan and Percocet.
Hydromorphone is a synthetic opiate marketed as Dilaudid. While Dilaudid is subject to abuse, OxyContin is more popular because its time-release properties can be defeated (and a greater dose ingested) by chewing the tablets. Dilaudid is not available in a time-release version and is therefore seen as delivering a weaker “high.??? Hydrocodone, marketed as Vicodin (among other trade names), is also used recreationally, although the drug is less powerful than oxycodone.
The synthetic opiate Methadone is administered to heroin users and other patients who are addicted to narcotics. Methadone is safer than heroin because the dosage is controlled and is released over time. A form of methadone that is used to control pain (primarily in cancer patients) is marketed as Dolophine.
Apart from prescription narcotics, a substantial number of California drug prosecutions are based on the sale or possession of amphetamines and barbiturates. Amphetamines are prescribed to treat a variety of conditions, including narcolepsy, obesity, and hyperactivity disorder. Recreational users take drugs like Adderall, Dexedrine, and Ritalin to get a quick blast of energy.
Defense of Prescription Drug Crimes in Orange county
Law Offices of Randy Collins defends clients accused of all prescription drug felonies and misdemeanors in Orange County, including:
- Sale of a prescription drug
- Possession of a prescription drug for sale
- Distribution of a prescription drug without compensation
- Furnishing a prescription drug to minors
- Transportation of a prescription drug
- Unauthorized possession of a prescription drug for personal use
We also represent clients accused of prescription fraud and related crimes. Those offenses include forging prescriptions, buying or stealing prescriptions from legitimate patients, falsifying symptoms to obtain a prescription, stealing prescription pads, and doctor shopping.
In addition, we represent medical professionals who are prosecuted for prescription drug crimes and regulatory violations. We believe physicians should have the discretion to exercise their professional judgment, but zealous law enforcement officials and regulators too often accuse honest doctors of overprescribing pain medication. This results in unfair prosecutions of medical professionals while discouraging doctors from providing the degree of pain management that they consider beneficial for patients. Other prosecutions for regulatory offenses are based on inadvertent conduct. We aggressively represent doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals who are charged with violations of California’s prescription drug laws.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG CHARGE FAQS
In some respects, California crimes involving prescription drugs are the same as any other drug crime. It is just as illegal to sell OxyContin as it is to sell heroin. One primary difference is that it is never legal to possess heroin in California while patients who have a valid prescription for OxyContin can legally possess it.
Some drug charges are unique to prescription drugs. Most of those involve the way a prescription drug is obtained. This FAQ will help you understand those differences.
I Want A Prescription for A Narcotic Drug But My Doctor Will Not Give Me One. Can I See Another Doctor?
Yes, provided that you are honest about your reason for seeing the second doctor. You are entitled to seek a second opinion and a second doctor is entitled to disagree with the first doctor about your need for the medication.
Suppose, however, that your first doctor refused the prescription because that doctor knows you are addicted to the drug. If you see a second doctor and fail to disclose your addiction, a prosecutor might accuse you of obtaining your prescription by deceit. That accusation will be even stronger if you lie to the second doctor to obtain the prescription. Obtaining a prescription by fraud or deceit is a crime in California.
My doctor will not prescribe as many pills as I want. Can I go to other doctors to get additional prescriptions?
Again, you can ask another doctor for a second opinion, provided you make an honest disclosure of the prescription you were given by the first doctor. If you see multiple doctors to get additional prescriptions without disclosing the prescriptions you already received, you risk being accused of “doctor shopping.??? That is another form of prescription fraud that is illegal in California.
My Boyfriend Wants Me to Obtain Pain Pills For Him By Pretending That I Have Back Pain. Is It Legal for Me to Get A Prescription for A Medication That I Do Not Need?
If you do what your boyfriend asks, you risk being prosecuted for two different crimes. First, if you falsify your symptoms to deceive your doctor into prescribing drugs that you do not need, you are committing the crime of prescription fraud. Second, if you give prescription drugs to your boyfriend (or anyone else), you are committing the crime of drug distribution.
I Do Not Have A Prescription but the Drug I Want Is Available on the Internet. Can I Order It and Have It Shipped to Me from Mexico or Some Other Country?
The possession of a prescription drug without a prescription is illegal. It does not matter how you acquire the drug.
In addition, the prescription must be written by a doctor who is authorized to write prescriptions. Doctors cannot prescribe narcotics unless they are registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration. If a website offers you a bogus prescription that is not written by a doctor who has a DEA registration number, you are violating California law by using that prescription to obtain drugs.
What Should I Do If the Police Want to Question Me About My Use or Possession of Prescriptions or Prescription Drugs?
Just say no. Never talk to the police without having a criminal defense lawyer present. If the police want to question you, the only response you should make is “I will not answer any questions unless my lawyer is present."
What Are the Penalties For Engaging in Prescription Drug Crimes?
The penalties for selling and possessing prescription drugs are the same as the penalties for selling and possessing nonprescription drugs (other than marijuana). Most forms of prescription fraud in California are wobblers. That means the crime can be charged as a felony (usually with a maximum prison sentence of three years) or as a misdemeanor (with a maximum jail sentence of one year).
Are There Defenses to Prescription Drug Crimes?
Yes. If you are falsely accused of a drug crime, truth is your defense. If you honestly forgot to tell a doctor about other prescriptions, you committed no crime because you did not deliberately deceive the doctor. Of course, a prosecutor might not believe you had a memory lapse, particularly if you obtained the same prescription from several doctors.
Your best defense is to remain silent and to obtain legal advice as soon as you can. In some cases, your prescription drug lawyer can find a way to get the case thrown out. In other cases, a drug diversion program might help you avoid a conviction. You are also entitled to a “not guilty verdict if your lawyer establishes a reasonable doubt concerning your guilt. If you talk to the police or try to handle the case yourself, however, you will only make your situation worse.
A High-Quality Defense from an Experienced Orange County Prescription Drug Defense Lawyer
Randy Collins has been named a Top Lawyer in Orange County. His stellar client reviews on Avvo.com are reflected in his 5-star client rating. Clients, judges, and peers praise Randy Collins’ skilled representation of criminal defendants.
With offices in Orange County and Riverside County, the Law Offices of Randy Collins is positioned to defend individuals accused of prescription drug crimes across Southern California. To make an appointment to discuss your criminal charges, call our firm at (844) 524-4011today.