How to Defend a Forged Prescription Case

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Forgery of Prescription Defense in CaliforniaCalifornia has a law, contained in California Business and Professions Code 4324(a), prohibiting forgery of a prescription. That act is committed when a defendant falsely makes, alters, forges, utters, publishes, passes, or attempts to pass, as genuine, any prescription for any drugs.All the state needs to prove is an action to falsely makes, alters, forges, utters, publishes, passes, or attempts to pass as genuine any prescription for any drugs. The prosecution does not have to prove that a person actually received the drugs.Note that this includes the “uttering” of a forged prescription, which is where a person uses a forged document even though they know that it has been forged. For example, giving a forged prescription to a pharmacy is known as “uttering.” In order to prove that a person has committed a crime, two things must be proven. First, it must be proven that a person has forged, uttered or otherwise altered a prescription for a drug or drugs. Second, it must be proven that the false prescription was for a drug of a narcotic nature.Alternatively, someone can be convicted if it is shown that they gave a prescription for a narcotic drug and that the signature on the prescription was forged, fake or the prescription had been altered from its original state. If you are charged with forging a prescription, you should contact a lawyer immediately.The act of forgery is the creation of a fake document or the alteration of a document, or putting a fake signature on a document in order to illegally benefit from what the document says or orders. This includes things like signing other people’s names to legal documents, car loans, warranties and, yes, prescriptions for drugs. Forging documents and/or signatures is a serious offense, and you can be charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony.For example, you could be found guilty of forgery of a prescription for simply altering any material fact of an existing prescription. You could also be found guilty of forgery even if there was no evidence that the fake prescription was never even used, if the state can prove you had the knowledge that the prescription was false (the use of the word “falsely” above is what substitutes for intent for this crime).Here’s how to successfully defend against a prescription charge.First, know what the law states, and what you’re defending against. There are two types of prescription forgery charges under California law:
Felony prescription forgery, which is a felony based upon the narcotics alleged; and
Misdemeanor forgery, which can be charged as a misdemeanor based upon the type of narcotics alleged
The maximum for this offense is 1 year in county jail and a $1,000 fine if charged as a misdemeanor, and minimum 16 months state prison up to 3 years state prison and a maximum $1,000 fine if charged as a felony. (See California Business & Professions Code §4324(a) )Commonly, the prescription narcotics for which a false prescription is charged include Oxycontin, Adderall, Percocet, and other addictive prescriptions.Second, analyze the evidence for legal defenses, or factual defenses.The evidence is usuall contained in a polie report or in the testimony of a police officer. Legal defenses are accepted defenses created by the law, such as incapacity, or a mistake of law. Factual defenses have to do with the element of the crime — if it can be shown that the facts don’t support the elements above, then you can bring a motion for a dismissal.Third, see if alternative sentencing can end up dismissing the case. Frequently with the guidance of a defense attorney, clients obtain drug treatment programs in lieu of jail, including Diversion, Deferred Entry of Judgment, or Proposition 36. Successful completion of such programs often leads to the entire case being dismissed. This is the most common way to dismiss this type of case, as it is the easiest way to dismiss this charge – complete the class, and the case is dismissed entirely.Other key factors to consider in these cases are if the defendant has a prior criminal record for narcotics offenses. If the defendant has a prior record for drug crimes, the punishment would typically be more severe, although the argument for a drug rehab program is stronger. If there is no prior record then punishment can be greatly reduced.The key is pre-enrollment in any court approved rehabilitation program that covers the medication or narcotic that is at issue in the case, as well as obtaining school transcripts, resumes, letters of character reference or recommendation letters to personalize the defendant and present mitigating factors towards a reduction or dismissal in the case.With that information in hand, most attorneys can make a strong pitch towards obtaining a highly favorable result in Forgery of Prescription cases.