People don’t plan to become addicted to painkillers. Often their addiction begins after they are prescribed drugs to cope with pain, like OxyContin, Vicodin or Percocet.
One in five Americans admit they have misused a prescription drug at least once in their lives. Those who become addicted may be driven to take any measures they can to get the pills they desperately need. This includes trying to use a forged prescription at a pharmacy. However, if you use forgery or deception to obtain prescription drugs without a valid medical prescription, you can be charged with acquiring a controlled substance by fraud.
Illegally Obtaining Prescription Drugs
The method most people use to fraudulently obtain prescription drugs is to steal a prescription pad from a doctor and then write forged prescriptions on its pages. Other frequently used methods include going to several doctors to obtain a prescription from each (doctor shopping) or altering a valid prescription so that the prescription is for a higher dosage.
How a Charge of Acquiring a Controlled Substance by Fraud Can Harm You
Acquiring a controlled substance by fraud is punished by up to seven years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
However, the extent of the penalties for drug offenses in Pennsylvania depends on factors that include the amount and type of drugs involved, whether a weapon was present, prior conviction, and other elements.
Your driver’s license will be suspended for six months for a first offense, one year for a second offense, and two years for a third offense.
You will also likely face other long-term consequences like potentially being ineligible for financial aid, difficulty getting into college or graduate programs, difficulty maintaining employment, or being turned away for an apartment or mortgage application.
Steps to Take if You Have Been Charged
If you have been charged with a drug offense, your first step should be to immediately hire a drug crimes lawyer.
An experienced attorney will have worked with the prosecutors handling your case many times before. They can draw on their relationships and understanding of the local court system to lessen or dismiss your charges.
Don’t talk to the police or prosecutors unless your attorney is with you.
Your lawyer will go over what happened both before and after your arrest. Importantly, he or she will assess whether there was probable cause to charge you with a crime. This includes determining if the drugs were really acquired by you.
With a track record for successfully defending his clients against drug charges, Pittsburgh attorney Michael V. Worgul is an experienced attorney who has won dismissals and acquittals for a wide range of drug cases. Call for a free consultation, (412) 281-2146.