Physicians legally prescribe certain medications or other drugs for pain relief or other medical needs. Some of these medications can be highly addictive or very expensive. This occasionally leads to people going to great lengths to acquire prescription medications or drugs through alternative means.
As a result, North Carolina places many restrictions on how prescription drugs may be obtained. Failure to abide my state laws can lead to a person facing criminal charges with serious penalties, including steep fines and possible imprisonment.
If you have been accused of any type of crime relating to fraud or forgery involving prescription drugs, you should not delay in seeking legal counsel. Coolidge Law Firm understands the many ways that these types of criminal charges can affect the lives of ordinary people, which is why we work tirelessly to help clients achieve the most favorable outcomes to their cases.
Our Wake County prescription forgery attorneys represent people throughout Raleigh and such surrounding areas as Morrisville, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Garner, Wake Forest, Apex, Cary, and several other local areas. You can have our firm review your case during a free consultation as soon as you call (919) 239-8448.
There are many types of actions or schemes that can constitute prescription drug or medication forgery or fraud. A few examples include, but are not limited to:
North Carolina General Statute § 90-108 establishes several prohibited acts under the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act. Some of the 14 acts apply to the actual doctors, physicians, or employees with access to prescription drugs or related materials, and some apply to people who are prescribed drugs.
A few of the acts that commonly result in prescription fraud or forgery charges include:
If a person unknowingly violates this statute, then the crime is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if the alleged offense was committed intentionally, then this is a Class I felony offense.
In the state of North Carolina, punishments are determined using a very complex “structured sentencing” system. This method classifies alleged offenders based on the severity of the crimes for which they are currently being sentenced as well as the extent and gravity of their previous criminal records.
Judges not only use structured sentencing to determine the minimum and maximum ranges of sentences, but also to determine the type of punishment. North Carolina uses three kinds of punishment: active (prison or jail sentences), intermediate (supervised probation with certain conditions, possibly including a split jail sentence), or community (any sentence other than an active punishment).
For misdemeanors, there are three prior conviction levels that impact sentencing. Regardless of the type of punishment, there is only one sentence range established for these offenses. If an alleged offender is accused of a Class 1 misdemeanor prescription drug forgery or fraud crime, he or she could face one of the three following sentences:
In misdemeanor cases, the court can also impose a fine against an alleged offender.
A similar sentencing chart is used for felonies, but there are more sentence ranges and the chart uses more prior record levels instead of prior conviction levels. A worksheet is used to determine the number of Prior Record Level points based on the alleged offender’s previous convictions.
The sentencing chart also includes three sentence ranges: an aggravated range for cases with aggravating factors, a mitigated range for cases with mitigating factors, and a presumptive range for typical cases where the aggravating and mitigating factors balance each other out. For a Class I felony, the sentencing ranges are as follows:
Regardless of the prior record level, all felony offenses also involve post-release supervision. This is a mandatory term of supervision following release, and Class I felony offenders receive nine months of post-release supervision.
While these criminal charges can be very intimidating, a conviction is never automatic. Every case has its own unique elements, so certain defenses are applicable only to certain situations.
Generally, some of the most common defenses against these charges include, but are not limited to:
Are you currently under investigation or have you already been arrested for alleged fraud or forgery relating to prescription drugs in North Carolina? Coolidge Law Firm can fight to have the charges against you reduced or possibly even dismissed.
Our firm represents clients all over Wake County, including students at such colleges in the Raleigh area as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Duke University, Shaw University, William Peace University, Meredith College, Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech), and North Carolina State University. Call (919) 239-8448 today to have our Wake County prescription drug fraud attorneys review your case during a free consultation. Do NOT talk to investigators without a lawyer present and STUDENTS do not talk to school officials without consulting an experience attorney who knows the special circumstances of being a student.