Prescription drugs are strictly regulated by state and federal laws. In order to obtain and use a prescription drug or medication, an individual must obtain a prescription from his or her doctor. That prescription then must filled taken to a pharmacy for the prescription to be filled by a licensed pharmacist.
If a person is caught with prescription drugs (pharmaceutical medicines) without a valid, legal prescription, he or she may be charged with illegal possession of prescription drugs.
Individuals in New Jersey who are being charged with prescription drug crimes—theft of prescription drug pads, illegal possession and/or distribution of prescription drugs, prescription drug forgery, or prescription drug fraud—are treated the same as other drug crimes. If you or someone you know has been charged with a prescription drug-related crime, call New Jersey’s criminal defense attorney Randolph Wolf, to help you develop a tough defense strategy.
Theft of Prescription Drug Pads, Blanks, or Forms
A person charged with theft of prescription drug pads usually faces other charges as well, including: prescription fraud and prescription forgery. These crimes together are typically filed as Third Degree crimes, which may result in up to 5 years in jail and fines exceeding $100,000. If you are charged for a prescription drug crime, you will have criminal charges on your permanent record.
Illegal Use of Prescription Drugs
Prescription drug laws specifically state that individuals can only obtain prescription medicines or pharmaceutical drugs with a valid prescription from a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist, or pharmacist. If a person is under the influence of a prescription drug for which he or she does not have a valid prescription, he or she may be charged will illegal use of prescription drugs.
Prescription Drug Possession
A person who knowingly possesses a prescription drug in the amount of five or more doses without a valid prescription can be charged with a Fourth Degree crime in the state of New Jersey. If a person is accused of possession of illegal prescription drugs that is in the amount of less than four doses, it is a disorderly persons’ charge.
Prescription Drug Possession and Distribution
A person who knowingly distributes a prescription drug without a valid license to prescribe medications can be charged with prescription drug possession and distribution. If the defendant distributes for financial gain or possesses with the intent to distribute four or less doses of a prescription drug, he can receive a disorderly persons’ charge. If the defendant distributes for financial gain or possesses with the intent to distribute four or less doses of a prescription drug, he can be charged with a Fourth Degree crime. If the defendant is accused of distributing for financial gain or possessing with the intent to distribute five to 100 doses of a prescription drug, he can be charged with a Third Degree crime and a fine up to $100,000. If the defendant distributes for financial gain or possesses with the intent to distribute 100 or more doses of a prescription drug, he can be charged with a Second Degree crime and a fine up to $300,000.
Prescription Drug Forgery
Often, a defendant that is facing charges for prescription drug forgery is also facing charges for prescription drug fraud at the same time. A person can be charged with attempting to obtain prescription drugs by forgery if he or she makes, completes, or executes any writing and claims it to be the act of another who did not authorize such an act with the purpose the defraud or injure anyone. The accused may have stolen prescription blanks or pads and unlawfully filled in the prescription to obtain prescription drugs without license or authorization, or the accused may simply change an existing prescription in order to obtain a larger dosage or stronger prescription strength. Forgery of prescription blanks is a Third Degree crime in New Jersey.
Prescription Drug Fraud
A person accused of acquiring or obtaining prescription drugs by fraud and used misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or trickery to obtain prescription drugs can be charged with a Third Degree crime and fine up to $50,000.