In recent years, the U.S. has faced a severe opioid crisis. That said, there has been a significant increase in incidents of prescription fraud. Sometimes individuals who have become addicted to prescription drugs may take extreme measures to acquire them when their doctor stops providing them. These drastic measures include prescription fraud and prescription forgery. If you have been arrested for prescription fraud, contact a qualified Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney who can advocate.
What constitutes prescription fraud in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, it is illegal to obtain prescription drugs through any form of fraud, forgery, or misrepresentation. You will be charged with this criminal offense if you use deception to get a controlled substance. This offense often involves using another person’s prescription or altering a valid prescription to get prescription drugs. The following examples constitute this type of fraud in New Jersey:
- Stealing prescription blanks
- Forging a doctor’s prescription
- Altering a legitimate drug to change dosage or quantity
- Visiting multiple medical providers to receive various prescriptions
What are the potential penalties?
Prescription fraud and prescription forgery are both serious crimes with harsh penalties. It is critical to note that these offenses are classified separately. Therefore, you can be charged with prescription fraud and prescription forgery under certain circumstances. In New Jersey, obtaining prescription drugs by fraud and forging a prescription are classified as third-degree indictable offenses. It is also imperative to note that indictable offenses in New Jersey are similar to felonies in other states. These offenses are serious crimes. If you are charged with this type of fraud, this offense is punishable by:
- Driver’s license suspension for at least six months
- 3 to 5 years in prison
- A fine of up to $50,000
If your offense involves prescription pads, blanks, or forms theft, it will be classified as a third-degree offense. A conviction for third-degree theft can result in the following penalties:
- 3 to 5 years in prison
- A fine of up to $100,000
You must also note that you can face possession charges alongside forging a prescription. In New Jersey, if you possess a prescription drug for which you do not have a valid prescription, you can face a fourth-degree indictable offense. The possession and distribution of prescription drugs without the proper authority of a legal provider or a valid prescription can result in a maximum sentence of fines of up to $300,000 and up to 10 years of imprisonment.
Contact a determined Bergen County criminal defense attorney if you face criminal charges for prescription fraud. At The Law Office of Carl Spector, we are committed to vigorously defending our client’s rights and helping them avoid harsh penalties. Allow our firm to represent your interests today.