Charged or Arrested for Prescription Fraud?
Addiction to certain prescription medication has become an epidemic in the United States. The state of New Jersey and other states have enacted tough laws to reduce the availability of prescription medications and combat the epidemic. The possession of a prescription drug without an authorized prescription from a doctor is against the law in New Jersey. If you have been arrested on prescription drug charges or accused of fraud or forgery related to a prescription medication, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before giving a statement to the police.
The N.J. criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can provide the experienced legal representation you need if you are facing prescription drug charges in New Jersey. We have one of New Jersey’s largest and most experienced criminal defense teams with seven attorneys and six staffed offices across the state. Our legal team includes former prosecutors and public defenders who have extensive courtroom experience and have firsthand knowledge of how the state will present its case against you. We have the resources and commitment to seek the best available outcome for you if you have been charged with any type of prescription drug fraud in Monmouth County, Union County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Ocean County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County or elsewhere in New Jersey.
Contact us today to set up a free initial consultation and to begin the work necessary to protect you from the serious consequences of a New Jersey drug crime conviction.
New Jersey Prescription Fraud Law
It is illegal for anyone to obtain pills or other forms of controlled dangerous substances (CDS) by means of fraud, misrepresentation or deception, according to the New Jersey Criminal Code, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-13. The offense often involves obtaining prescription drugs using a prescription written for someone else or altering a valid prescription. Unfortunately, many people become addicted to prescription drugs, so it is a commonly charged crime.
The fundamental elements that a New Jersey prosecutor must establish to prove a case of prescription fraud are:
1—that the defendant acquired or obtained a controlled substance;
2—that the defendant used some form of fraud, misrepresentation or deception to obtain the medication;
3—the medication was a controlled dangerous substance as defined by New Jersey law.
It is a third-degree crime to violate New Jersey law, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-12. A conviction of a third-degree offense carries a presumption of no jail time. But prosecutors can overcome that presumption and a defendant may face a sentence of three to five years in jail and fines of up to $50,000 depending on the quantity of drugs involved. Having a drug conviction on your record can make it more difficult to get a job or apply for school loans. Because of the severe impact a conviction can have on your life, you need trusted legal guidance to fight aggressively for your rights and liberty.
Each case has unique factors that must be evaluated by an experienced attorney to develop the most effective defense. You may be charged with crimes related to prescription drugs that you had no intention of committing. If you do not have a criminal record, you may be eligible for pre-trial diversion program in New Jersey. Pre-trial intervention puts you in control of your fate. If you successfully complete the program, you will be eligible for dismissal of the prescription drug fraud charges.
You need to act now to protect your freedom by contacting a skilled prescription drug fraud attorney at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. We answer phone calls around the clock. Do not delay in getting a criminal defense lawyer.
Examples of Prescription Fraud
Jane Smith has been prescribed Oxycontin by a doctor to treat chronic pain. Over time, she has become dependent on the medication and taken more than the prescribed daily dosage. During a visit to the doctor’s office, she notices a prescription pad on a nurse’s desk and puts it in her purse when no one is looking. When she runs out of her prescription, she forges the doctor’s name on the stolen prescription pad to try to obtain extra pills. Employees of hospitals, doctors’ offices, and health-care centers also may be accused of theft of prescription pads.
The theft of New Jersey prescription blanks constitutes a crime of the third degree punishable by three to five years in prison and fines exceeding $100,000 if the amount involved is between $500 and $75,000. Prescription theft is often charged together along with prescription forgery or fraud.
A variation on this type of fraud is making copies of a valid prescription or altering a valid prescription to increase the dosage or number of pills prescribed to obtain more than the doctor prescribed.
Another fact pattern involves a bogus phone call to a pharmacy by someone posing as a doctor or representative of a doctor’s office, phoning in a fraudulent prescription.
Doctor shopping is another way that people may fraudulently obtain controlled substances. A physician can only prescribe a limited amount of medication to a patient. A patient may receive the same prescribed drugs from two or more doctors without informing the physician that he or she is receiving medication from another doctor. Doctor shopping involves deception and is illegal in New Jersey
New Jersey law states that it is unlawful for any person to acquire or obtain possession of a controlled dangerous substance or controlled dangerous substance analog by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge. Pharmacists and health-care facilities are required to report any stolen prescription blanks to the Office of Drug Control in the N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs within 72 hours of becoming aware of the missing blanks.
Other Forms of Prescription Fraud Prohibited by NJ Law
There are different types of fraud related to the manufacturing or distribution of a prescription drug. These types of fraud include:
- The use of a registration number that is fictitious, revoked, suspended or that of another person;
- Withholding or distorting information from an application, report, or other document required to be compiled;
- Making, distributing or providing a plate, punch, stamp or other device intended to create a likeness so as to counterfeit a prescription medication or other form of CDS.
Common Prescription Fraud Cases Our Attorneys Handle
To prevent prescription drug addiction and abuse, New Jersey passed a law in 2017 to limit most initial prescriptions of painkillers such as oxycodone to five days. This reflects the serious view New Jersey takes toward improper possession and use of illegally obtained prescription drugs.
Prescription drug fraud in New Jersey often involves the following drugs:
- Mebarol (Mebaral)
- Roxicontin (Roxycontin)
It is a fourth-degree charge to possess 5 or fewer units of a prescription drug without a valid prescription.
The possession of more than 5 units of a prescription drug without a valid script is a third-degree offense.
In most prescription fraud cases, there are opportunities for a skilled criminal defense attorney to intervene and protect your legal rights. It is important to speak with an attorney before giving a statement to the police. We may be able to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. It is important for an attorney to be involved in the case as early as possible.
To learn more about how we can assist you, contact our attorneys anytime 24/7. The consequences of a conviction of possession of controlled substances by prescription fraud are harsh. You want to avoid a conviction at all costs if possible. It is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable prescription fraud defense attorney. Take a close look at our credentials. A lawyer from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is available at 1-877-328-0980 to assist you immediately.