What Happens If You Take Prescription Drugs Without a Prescription?

prescriptiondrug abuse lawyer newtown paPrescription Drug Crimes

Many households have unused or unfinished prescriptions lying around. In some cases, one member of the household may give pills from these prescriptions to another person for whom they were not prescribed. Or in some cases, a person may acquire prescription drugs from a person who is illegally selling them. Taking medication that is not specifically prescribed to you by a medical professional may cause serious medical complications due to issues with dosage, body chemistry, other medications, allergies, or other pre-existing conditions. The individual who gives unprescribed drugs to another person may be legally responsible for the complications that arise from their use.

Some people may obtain drugs not prescribed to them through crimes involving fraud or other illegal activity. They may obtain the drugs through online purchases or illegally use someone else’s identity. Some of these illegal acts merely constitute a misdemeanor, while others may constitute a felony based on the circumstances of the case.

A person who commits these crimes may face:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Prison sentences
  • Other punishments

Drug Fraud Crimes

Although there are a number of drug-related crimes that involve an element of fraud, two of the most common drug fraud crimes include “uttering a prescription of a controlled substance” and “obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.” Most states have criminalized these acts, although they may go by different names in various states. Although the two crimes are distinct from one another, they are often charged together in many criminal indictments or informations.

Uttering a Prescription of a Controlled Substance

Uttering a prescription of a controlled substance involves the intentional delivery, reproduction, or transfer of counterfeit-resistant materials for the writing of prescriptions. In most examples of this crime, an individual uses a prescription pad of a healthcare professional along with the forged signature of that professional.

This crime, often charged as a felony, usually requires three elements to be proven at trial:

  1. First, the alleged offender must have sold, distributed, created, or had possession of counterfeit-resistant prescription materials
  2. Next, these materials must be in the form required by the state’s department of health
  3. Finally, the alleged offender must have intended to trick or enable another individual to purchase these drugs in a fraudulent manner, as the particular state defines criminal fraud.

Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud

Obtaining a controlled substance by fraud involves the procurement or attempted procurement of prescription drugs through fraud, forgery, or some other false act. Typically, an alleged offender of this crime will have attempted to obtain a prescription without a proper prescription. Or the alleged offender may have attempted to increase the dosage or number of pills requested in a prescription (valid or otherwise). Some people commit this offense to obtain prescription pain medication, such as opiates or amphetamines, which can then be illegally sold.

This offense also has three elements:

  • First, the alleged offender must have procured or attempted to procure a drug prescription
  • Second, the prescription must be considered a controlled substance under the state’s laws
  • Finally, the acquired drug must have been obtained through some fraudulent, forging, or illegal behavior

This offense is also charged by most states as a felony.

Contact an Experienced Newtown Drug Defense Attorney About Your Prescription Drug Crime Charges in Pennsylvania

Have you been charged with a drug-related offense in Pennsylvania? A drug crime conviction can carry with it heavy fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension! That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer about your case. The attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. represent clients charged with use, possession, production, distribution, and related drug offenses in Doylestown, Lansdale, King of Prussia, Norristown, and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Call (215) 822-7575 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office located at 2605 N. Broad St., Colmar, PA 18915, in addition to an office located in Newtown, PA.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.