Prescription Drug Fraud
Under Colorado law, no person may obtain or administer a controlled substance through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, forgery, alteration of an order, or concealment of a material fact. This means that a person may not go to a doctor and complain of severe and ongoing back pain merely to obtain pain medication, nor may they use a false name or information at the pharmacy to illegally obtain someone else’s prescription. Examples of prescription drug fraud may also include:
- Using legitimate prescription pads to write fake prescriptions to fictitious patients.
- Alteration of a legitimate prescription order to obtain a larger dose.
- Changing to confirmation number so that the perpetrator or an accomplice answers the phone to confirm the validity of a prescription.
A prescription drug fraud crime only requires a person attempting to obtain a controlled substance through fraud or deceit. It does not require that they successfully obtain the controlled substance.
Denver Prescription Drug Fraud Attorney
A conviction for prescription drug fraud can result in serious penalties. If you have been arrested for prescription drug fraud, it is imperative that you hire the assistance of an experienced defense lawyer in Denver, CO. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. has years of experience successfully defending those charged with offenses and can help you mount a strong defense.
To have Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. discuss all of your legal options today, call (303) 725-0017. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. accepts traffic cases throughout the Denver area and surrounding counties such as Douglas County, Jefferson County, Boulder County, Broomfield County, and Adams County.
- Reasons People Are Caught For Prescription Drug Fraud
- Defenses for Prescription Drug Fraud
- Statute Of Limitations
- Additional Resources
Reasons People Are Caught For Prescription Drug Fraud
It is common for a physician to use the same pharmacists regularly, so people attempting to obtain a prescription illegally may be caught simply because the pharmacist knows the physician’s signature or DEA number. Several safeguards are also in place to ensure that patients do not receive illegal prescriptions. If there is any discrepancy, the pharmacist will likely call the prescribing physician’s office to validate the prescription or sort out any differences.
Typically, the penalties for drug crimes depend on the classification of the drug and the amount of the drug the suspect possesses. However, according to Colorado law, prescription drug fraud is a class 4 drug felony regardless of the type of drug or the amount the defendant obtains. The penalty for prescription drug fraud is six to twelve months in jail and fines between $1,000 and $100,000.
A class 4 drug felony can result in more severe penalties if there are aggravating factors surrounding the prescription drug fraud crime. For example, suppose the defendant was on parole or probation at the time of the offense. In that case, even if the previous offense was unrelated, the defendant may receive up to two years in prison in addition to the above fine.
Additionally, if the crime was committed as a result of addiction under Colorado’s “wobbler” sentencing, a defendant may be able to have their conviction vacated. A wobbler crime can be reduced to a misdemeanor because the defendant completed probation or a community rehabilitation program. For prescription drug fraud, the defendant would likely need to successfully complete a drug treatment program.
Defenses for Prescription Drug Fraud
Several defenses are available to someone who has been accused of a prescription drug crime, including but not limited to:
- The prescription was valid.
- The defendant had the legal authority to obtain the controlled substance.
- The defendant did not falsely state that they were in pain or injured to obtain the controlled substance.
Statute Of Limitations
The statute of limitations in Colorado for most offenses is three years, meaning an individual must be charged within three years of the prescription drug fraud crime to be convicted. However, it is important to understand that if the crime continues to be committed, the three-year mark may continue to move back. For example, suppose someone committed prescription drug fraud continuously every month for one year and is charged three years and four months from the first incident. In that case, they likely can be charged because the last incident was within the previous three years. In addition, it is uncommon for statute of limitation defenses to be available in drug crimes because the individual is arrested and charged immediately upon being suspected and charged with prescription drug fraud.
Colorado Revised Statutes (Fraud and Deceit): The Colorado Legal Resource website provides prescription drug fraud definitions and the crime’s penalty outline.
Colorado Crisis Service: The Colorado Crisis Service website provides information on drug abuse and will provide free confidential and professional help to work through addiction.
Rehab Centers: The Rehab Centers website provides the number and location of 20 rehab centers in Colorado.
Colorado Criminal Jury Instructions (2021): Chapter 18 of the Colorado Criminal Jury Instructions provides information on jury instructions during trials dealing with controlled substance offenses.
Colorado Prescription Drug Fraud Lawyer | Denver, CO
If you have been arrested for prescription drug fraud in Denver, CO, the penalties can be very serious, and a well-planned defense will be crucial. It is imperative that you take action immediately in order to protect your freedom, career, and future. Criminal defense attorney Matthew Martin at Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. can mount a strong defense for your case.
To schedule a free consultation with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C., call (303) 725-0017 today. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Denver area including cities such as Castle Rock, Parker, Lakewood, Golden, Thornton, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Boulder, and Broomfield.