Prescription Drug Fraud
Over the years, prescription drugs have become a huge part of Americans daily lives. In a 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was recorded that 48.9 percent of Americans have taken at least one prescription drug in the last month. The high demand for prescription drugs has caused a sharp increase in fraud and doctor shopping.
Lying or using other deceitful means to obtain prescription drugs is a serious offender under Texas law. If convicted, you could face serious penalties including time in prison and expensive out-of-pocket fines. The only way to combat prescription drug fraud charges is to gain experienced legal representation. A skilled defense lawyer can assess the situation, build a sturdy defense and effectively fight your charges
Prescription Drug Fraud Defense Attorney in Houston, Texas
Doctor shopping, forging prescriptions or lying to receive a certain medication are all forms of prescription drug fraud. No matter the circumstances of the crime, the penalties remain the same. Many people convicted of prescription drug fraud face years in prison and are forced to pay expensive fines once they’re released.
Go to battle with your charges by hiring experienced and skilled legal counsel with The Benken Law Firm. Attorney Brian Benken has spent many years defending people charged with all types of offenses including fraud. He will work tirelessly and leave no stone unturned when it comes to your freedom. Get in touch with The Benken Law Firm now by calling (713) 223 - 4051. From there, we will set up a case review for you free of charge.
The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County area and throughout all regions of Texas, which does include Bellaire, Houston, Deer Park, El Lago, La Porte, Pasadena, Tomball, and Hunter’s Creek Village.
Overview of Prescription Drug Fraud in Texas
- What is Prescription Drug Fraud in TX?
- What is the U.S. Drug Schedules?
- What is the Penalty for Prescription Drug Fraud?
- Additional Resources
What is Prescription Drug Fraud in Texas?
Prescription drug fraud typically involves some form of deceit that is utilized to present a false prescription drug as valid or to obtain a prescription drug illegally. Texas Penal Code § 481.129 states you’re guilty of committing prescription drug fraud if you did any of the following:
- Was a registrant or dispenser and unlawfully distributed a Schedule I or II drug;
- Used a fake, suspended, revoked, or another person’s Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number on a controlled substance;
- Used another person’s prescription to prescribe a Schedule II drug illegally;
- Used a fake or forged signature for a false prescription;
- Tried to obtain or attempted to obtain a controlled substance or an increased amount of a controlled substance by committing any of the following acts:
- Using means of fraud, deception or misrepresentation;
- By using a fraudulent prescription form; or
- Through a fraudulent oral prescription or a prescription given over the phone
- Lied or used deceit to obtain a controlled substance or increased quantity of a controlled substance from a doctor or an unauthorized person;
- Added false or fraudulent material information or omitted any material information from any record, report, application or other official documents for the prescription;
- Manufactured, possessed, or delivered with intent to deliver a counterfeit prescription drug substance; or
- Delivered a prescription or prescription form for anything other than a valid medical reason in the course of professional medical practice; or
- Possessed a prescription for a controlled substance not obtained in a valid manner by authorized medical personnel.
What Is the U.S. Drug Schedules?
The state of Texas determines the penalties for drug prescription based on their drug schedule. These schedules can be found under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) under the U.S. Code. They are separated into five distinct categories based on the drug’s medical usage and potential for chemical dependency. The following are all the drug schedules listed under the U.S. Code.
- Schedule V – These drugs have the lowest potential for chemical dependency. Many of these drugs are used for antidiarrheal, analgesic or antitussive purposes. Some examples of schedule IV prescription drugs include the following:
- Lyrica; and
- Schedule IV – Controlled substances with a low to moderate potential for abuse are under schedule IV. The following are some examples of schedule IV prescription drugs:
- Ambien; and
- Schedule III – Substances who typically are moderately addicting are found under schedule III. Examples of drugs under schedule II include the following:
- Anabolic steroids;
- Products or mixtures containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine such as Tylenol with codeine.
- Schedule II – Controlled substances grouped under schedule II have a much higher potential for abuse than the other schedule categories. A few examples of drugs under schedule II include:
- Methamphetamine (meth);
- Meperidine (Demerol);
- Fentanyl; and
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
- Schedule I – Drugs that serve no purpose in the medical community and have a dangerously high potential for chemical dependency are listed under schedule I. The penalties for crimes involving schedule I drugs tend to be especially harsh and include prison time. A few examples of drugs under schedule I include:
- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy);
- Methaqualone; and
What Are the Penalties for Prescription Drug Fraud in Texas?
Prescription drug fraud is high-level crime with harsh penalties. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you could be looking at life-long penalties including time in prison. The circumstances that determine this crime’s severity include what schedule the illegal prescription drug is grouped under and the offender’s intentions.
Prescription drug fraud involving a schedule IV controlled substance is a class A misdemeanor. The penalties for a class A misdemeanor include the following:
- Up to 12 months in jail; and
- A possible fine of up to $4,000.
When a prescription drug fraud case involves a schedule III or IV drug, then the crime is enhanced to a third-degree felony. The maximum punishment for a third-degree felony include:
- Up to 10 years in prison; and
- A possible fine of up to $10,000.
If a schedule I or II substance is involved, then the penalties for the offense are elevated to a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony can result in the following consequences:
- Up to 20 years in prison; and
- A possible fine of up to $10,000.
Texas Prescription Drug Fraud Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas State Statutes to learn more regarding prescription drug fraud and other related offenses. Learn the charge elements, penalties for repeat offenders, and other related controlled substance offenses.
A Pharmacist’s Guide to Prescription Drug Fraud – Visit the official website for the U.S. Department of Justice, the Diversion Control Division to find more information on prescription drug fraud. Access the site to characteristics of forged prescriptions, common deceitful phrases by offenders, types of fraudulent prescriptions, and prevention tips.
Houston Lawyer for Prescription Drug Fraud in Texas
Prescription drug crimes are nonviolent, but they still carry heavy penalties. If convicted, you could possibly face a felony and be required to spend time in prison. Fight back by securing trusted and experienced legal representation with The Benken Law Firm. Brian Benken from The Benken Law Firm has been practicing for years and can utilize his extensive knowledge for your case.
Let Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm be your guide through this stressful time. He can assess the case, collect evidence, formulate a strong defense plan and then execute it in court. Call (713) 223 - 4051 to schedule your case review for free. During the consultation, Brian Benken will evaluate the details of your case and disclose to you all your legal options.\
The Benken Law Firm can be found in Houston, but we practice throughout all parts of Harris County and the state of Texas.