Florida has long been plagued by drug problems, with one major issue being the abuse of prescription medications obtained through fraudulent means. The state has struggled with the diversion of prescription drugs, such as opioids and benzodiazepines, which has led to a rise in addiction and overdose rates.
Florida has implemented various measures to combat this issue, including stricter regulations. If you’re facing charges for prescription by fraud in Florida, understanding the penalties you could face upon conviction is crucial.
We’re here to help protect your rights and your freedom.
Understanding Prescription by Fraud in Florida
Prescription fraud – also known as “doctor shopping” – is a very serious criminal offense in Florida.
The crime itself revolves around obtaining, or attempting to obtain, prescription drugs by misrepresenting, withholding information, or lying to doctors or other healthcare professionals. This typically means someone visiting multiple doctors for the same condition, without their knowledge, intending to get prescriptions from as many as possible.
Florida Statute § 893.13(7)(a) makes it a felony to obtain or attempt to obtain a prescription through illegitimate means.
This includes the use of any of the following:
- using fake names, or
- using other personal information like addresses
The law is as clear as it is strict, and it is designed to reduce or eliminate misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. When the laws relating to prescription by fraud are violated, the penalties can be severe.
Prescription by Fraud Penalties in St. Petersburg
Upon conviction of prescription by fraud charges, individuals in St. Petersburg and throughout Florida can face significant penalties. These penalties include fines, community service, probation, and potentially even prison time.
- Prison Time: One of the most serious consequences of conviction is the possibility of prison time. Being convicted of prescription by fraud can lead to a prison sentence of up to 5 years. The potential for prison time is one of the biggest reasons why individuals facing charges of prescription by fraud should be working with legal representation like Fletcher + Fletcher.
- Fines: In nearly all cases of conviction, the defendant will be responsible for paying fines and court costs. The potential for monetary fines upon conviction can reach $5,000, though it will ultimately be up to the court to determine the final amount through consideration of the circumstances surrounding the case.
- Probation: Many cases resulting in a conviction will also result in the court imposing a probation period that can be as long as 5 years. During the probation period, regular check-ins with a probation officer, random drug tests, and strict compliance are mandatory.
- Community Service: If convicted, you may also be assigned to community service in the St. Petersburg area, along with other penalties. The number of hours of service will be determined by the court and based on its discretion and the severity of the offense.
Why You Need A Florida Prescription by Fraud Defense Lawyer
While the average person can probably handle going to court for a traffic ticket or minor civil issue, a criminal defense attorney like the team at Fletcher + Fletcher will have critical in-depth knowledge of Florida law so you have the best shot at protecting your rights.
Your lawyer will dig into every aspect of your case, interview witnesses as needed, and gather critical evidence. Using this they will then build a robust defense strategy.
Additionally, when the time comes to show up in court, having your attorney at your side can help give you more confidence. They’ll help guide you through the process, as well as be your advocate throughout the case.
Engage Dedicated Legal Representation with Fletcher + Fletcher
Don’t try to navigate the murky waters of Florida criminal defense alone. If you’re in the St. Petersburg area and facing allegations of prescription by fraud, partner with the experienced legal professionals at Fletcher + Fletcher to help protect your rights and freedom. Reach out today to start building a strong defense.