Prescription Drug Fraud in Georgia
Prescription Drug Fraud & Forgery Laws
If you are under investigation, or have been arrested, for prescription forgery or prescription fraud you need to hire an experienced prescription forgery and fraud defense lawyer.
Defending Prescription Drug Arrests
Arrests for prescription drug fraud bring serious felony charges. What causes a prescription related arrest? It could start with police dealing with a traffic stop and then finding controlled substances. A pharmacist may think a prescription looks odd1 and call police. You may be in possession of a controlled substance not in the appropriately labeled pharmacy container. Or you may be accused of being in possession of a container that does not have your name on the label.
In these situations, you could be arrested for a prescription drug crime. The State of Georgia hashly prosecutes pharmaceutical drug crimes. Our experience in fighting prescription drug arrests places our law firm at the top of drug defense law firms in Georgia. Regardless of the circumstances, we may be able to find problems with police procedure such as having probable cause to search or things that make evidence inadmissable.
Georgia Prescription Laws | O.C.G.A. § 16-13-43
- (a) It is unlawful for any person:
- (1) Who is a registrant to distribute a controlled substance classified in Schedule I or II, except pursuant to an order form as required by Code Section 16-13-40;
- (2) To use, in the course of the manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance, a registration number which is fictitious, revoked, suspended, or issued to another person;
- (3) To acquire or obtain possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, subterfuge, or theft;
- (4) To furnish false or fraudulent material information in, or omit any material information from, any application, report, or other document or record required to be kept or filed under this article;
- (5) To make, distribute, or possess any punch, die, plate, stone, or other thing designed to print, imprint, or reproduce the trademark, trade name, or other identifying mark, imprint, or device of another or any likeness of any of the foregoing, upon any drug or container or labeling thereof so as to render the drug a counterfeit substance; or
- (6) To withhold information from a practitioner that such person has obtained a controlled substance of a similar therapeutic use in a concurrent time period from another practitioner.
- (b) Any person who violates this Code section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, may be imprisoned for not more than eight years or fined not more than $50,000.00, or both.
Obtaining or attempting to obtain dangerous drugs by fraud, forgery, or concealment of material fact. | O.C.G.A. § 16-13-78
- (a) No person shall obtain or attempt to obtain any dangerous drug or attempt to procure the administration of any such drug by:
- (1) Fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge;
- (2) The forgery or alteration of any prescription or of any written order;
- (3) The concealment of a material fact; or
- (4) The use of a false name or the giving of a false address.
- (b) Any person violating subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
- (c) Nothing in this Code section shall apply to drug manufacturers or their agents or employees when such manufacturers or their agents or employees are authorized to engage in and are actually engaged in investigative activities directed toward the safeguarding of the manufacturer’s trademark.
Misdemeanor Convictions & Sentences
As a misdemeanor offense, anyone convicted of this charge in Georgia will face fines up to $1,000, jail time up to one year, or both fine and incarceration.
Felony Convictions & Sentences
Per Federal Drug Scheduling and drug laws in Georgia, a prescription drug arrest typically brings a felony charge(s) with fines and prison time.
Relative to the drug schedule classifications, the DEA website states, "Drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified into five (5) distinct categories or schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential. The abuse rate is a determinate factor in the scheduling of the drug."2
Controlled Substance Possession
Unlawful possession of Schedule III, IV or V controlled substance is a felony which is punishable by a 1- to 5-year term in jail or prison. Unlawful sale/distribution of any Schedule I or II Controlled Substance is a felony punishable by a term one to 30 years in prison.
Common Pharmaceuticals Linked to Prescription Fraud and Forgery
Per the U.S. Department of Justice website, "Pharmacists must become aware of the widespread problem of prescription forgery and its role in drug abuse and learn to recognize forged prescriptions and the processes by which they are circulated."3 To this point, federal and state law enforcement agencies provide training to help pharmacists recognize the signs of presecription fraud and prescription forgery. Pharamcists are especially wary when prescriptions are written for commonly abused prescription drugs. The following list provides examples of drugs that get extra scrutiny:
One Event, Multiple Charges
Many arrests involving prescription drugs bring multiple charges. If this happens you are at risk of a being sentenced to lengthy incareration and hefty fines. If you’re facing multiple charges you need to hire a criminal justice lawyer as soon as possible.
Our defense attorneys, depending on the circumstances of your case, can advocate to have charges dropped or reduced. Another option you may have is taking advantage of the First Offender Act in Georgia which may enable us to make it all go away. In high-risk cases we can provide a robust defense in a jury trial.
What Should You Do Now?
If you have been arrested on any drug charges you should consult with a defense lawyer. We can answer your questions and give you a good idea of possible outcomes. If you choose to hire us, we can set-up your case right away and we will contact the prosecutors office to get started. We invite you to call us at 770-956-1400.
CREDITS and FOOTNOTES
- 1 DEA Staff, "Pharmacists Guide to Prescription Fraud", March 7, 2017, Available from DEA
- 2 DEA Staff, "Drug Scheduling", April 20, 2021, Available from DEA
- 3 DoJ Staff, "Prescription Forgery: The Pharmacist’s Role", June 19, 1989, Available from U.S. DoJ
- Photo by Pete Linforth, available at Pixabay