With a growing opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania, law enforcement has been diligent in tracking prescription drugs obtained illegally in the Keystone State. Whether these medications are obtained for personal use or for profit, being found guilty of prescription fraud can have costly repercussions.
As medical providers are being more selective in the prescribing of such medications, many find themselves with no choice but to obtain these drugs via illegal measures. Unfortunately, being convicted of prescription fraud can be more severe than charges for possession of cocaine or heroin.
If you have been accused of prescription drug fraud in Northeast Pennsylvania or the surrounding area, know that criminal defense attorney Craig Kalinoski is here for you.
Prescription Drugs That Are Illegal Without a Prescription in Pennsylvania
Under both federal and state law, the possession of well-known substances without a prescription is illegal.
- Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA): CSA provides a mechanism for substances to be controlled or decontrolled based upon a substance’s medical use, the potential for abuse, and safety or dependence liability.
- Pennsylvania Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act: The Act provides measures relating to the manufacture, sale, and possession of controlled substances, other drugs, devices, and cosmetics as well as establishes schedules of controlled substances. The Act establishes the penalties for fraudulent use as well as the registration requirements for those involved in the drug trade.
The following is a list of substances illegal to possess without a prescription in Pennsylvania:
- Diazepam, or Valium
- Oxymorphone, or Oxycontin
- Oxycodone, or Percocet
- Hydrocodone, or Vicodin
- Alprazolam, or Xanax
- Meperidine, or Demerol
- Amphetamines, such as Adderall
Most commonly involved drugs in prescription fraud include depressants, stimulants, as well as medications for ADHD, anxiety, sleeping disorders, and pain relievers.
It’s important to note that prescription fraud is not just an individual who uses prescription medications illegally, it is also medical professionals who write bad prescriptions, or someone selling or manufacturing prescription drugs illegally.
Penalties of Prescription Fraud in Pennsylvania
The circumstances surrounding your arrest and the types of drugs ultimately determine the type of charges you may face.
If you are convicted of acquiring prescription medication by fraud, you can face up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Simple Possession of Illegal Prescription Medication
In Pennsylvania, there are minimum sentencing laws for simple possession of drugs conviction:
- 1. First Offense: Up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine, plus other penalties including a six-month driver’s license suspension.
- 2. A Second Or Third Offense: Up to two or three years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Other penalties may apply, for instance, if you are charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver or Distribute (a felony) or within a school zone.
If you are convicted of charges under the Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act, you may have a criminal record for the rest of your life.
In addition, you also may face federal charges if you are in possession of large quantities of illegal prescription drugs.
- Schedule III drugs (drugs that may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence): Up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
- Schedule IV drugs (may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence compared with Schedule III drugs): Up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Additional penalties will depend on the number of drugs in your possession and if weapons were found at the time of arrest, in addition to any prior convictions.
Defenses to Prescription Drug Fraud
While the possible defenses to your prescription drug fraud charge will ultimately depend on the facts of the case, general defenses may include:
- Lack of Intent
- Unwitting Possession
An experienced Scranton criminal defense attorney will be able to review the facts of your case to seek a lesser punishment.
Prescription Fraud Representation: Craig Kalinoski
As your advocate, Craig Kalinoski is a criminal defense attorney who is committed to protecting you in and out of court using his knowledge of the community, extensive knowledge of the law, tenacious negotiation skills, and commitment to thorough trial preparation.
At Kalinoski Law Offices, we understand how damaging a prescription fraud charge can be to your future, especially when you are actively seeking addiction help. That’s why our legal team explores every avenue to obtain results. Our goal is to achieve the best possible situation so you can put your legal concerns behind you and get on with your life.
If you are facing prescription fraud charges in Northeast Pennsylvania, contact Kalinoski Law Offices today.