Prescription Drug Fraud

United States citizens are using prescription drugs now more than ever. A 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that 48.9 percent of Americans have taken at least one prescription drug in the last month. As the demands for prescription drugs rises do does the rate of criminal activity surrounding prescription drugs. 

Prescription drug fraud is a serious offense under Texas law. A person convicted of prescription drug fraud may face severe penalties including fines and possible prison time. If you have been charged with prescription drug fraud, it’s important that you act now.

Brownsville Attorney for Prescription Drug Fraud in Texas

Events like the opioid crisis puts a huge spotlight on prescription drugs. Law enforcement is on high alert for those committing controlled substance offenses including prescription drug fraud. Any person who has been charged with prescription drug fraud must seek trusted legal representation immediately.

Attorney Johnathan Gracia is dedicated to providing excellent legal service and defending his client’s rights. Johnathan Gracia is intimately familiar with Texas laws and procedures. He is always current with the latest trends and recent legislation development so that he can provide the best defense for you. Leave no stone unturned when it comes to your freedom. Contact Johnathan Gracia now to assess your case today.  

Call us now at (956) 504-2211. We defend clients accused of drug crimes throughout the greater Brownsville area including La Feria, Harlingen, Los Fresnos, Palm Valley, and San Benito. 

Overview of Prescription Drug Fraud in Texas

Elements for Prescription Drug Fraud in Cameron County, Texas

A prescription drug fraud offense typically involves some form of deceit to present a false prescription drug as valid or obtain a prescription drug illegally. Texas Penal Code § 481.129 states a person is committing prescription drug fraud if he or she: 

  • Is a registrant or dispenser and unlawfully distributes a Schedule I or II drug;
  • Uses a fake, revoked, suspended, or another person’s Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number on a controlled substance;
  • Uses a forged or fake signature for a prescription;
  • Uses another person’s prescription to prescribe a Schedule II drug;
  • Tries to obtain or attempt to obtain a controlled substance or an increased amount of a controlled substance by doing any of the following:
    • Through the means of fraud, forgery, deception, or misrepresentation;
    • Through a fraudulent prescription form; or
    • By a fraudulent oral prescription or prescription communicated over the phone.
  • Adds false or fraudulent material information or omits any material information from any report, record, application, or other documents for a prescription;
  • Lies or uses deceit to obtain a controlled substance or increased quantity of a controlled substance from a doctor or an authorized person;
  • Make any sort of counterfeit controlled substance through the use of any identifying marks;
  • Manufactures, delivers, or possesses with intent to deliver a counterfeit prescription drug substance; or
  • A person is committing prescription drug fraud if he or she:
    • Delivers a prescription or prescription form for anything other than a valid medical reason in the course of professional medical practice;
    • Possesses a prescription for a controlled substance if not obtained in a valid manner by authorized medical personnel.

United States Drug Schedules

The United States classifies controlled substances into five distinct categories or schedules depending on the drug’s medical usage and potential for dependency. You can locate the specifics about the schedules under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The following are the drug schedules under the Controlled Substances Act. 

  • Schedule I – All drugs under Schedule I have no medical use at all and have a dangerously high potential for abuse. Offenses with Schedule I drugs typically have the harshest penalties. Some examples include:
    • Methaqualone;
    • Peyote;
    • Heroin;
    • Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy)
    • Methaqualone; and
    • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

  • Schedule II – The drugs listed under Schedule II have a high potential for abuse but has some acceptance in the medical community. Some examples include:
    • Oxycodone (OxyContin);
    • Dexedrine;
    • Adderall;
    • Fentanyl;
    • Ritalin;
    • Vicodin;
    • Methamphetamine (meth);
    • Meperidine (Demerol);
    • Methadone; and
    • Cocaine.

  • Schedule III – Drugs that have a low to moderate level for chemical dependence are under Schedule III. Some examples of Schedule III drugs include:
    • Ketamine;
    • Anabolic steroids;
    • Testosterone; and
    • Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine such as Tylenol with codeine.

  • Schedule IV – Any drug with a low potential for abuse is classified as Schedule IV. A few examples of Schedule IV drugs include:
    • Soma;
    • Darvocet;
    • Valium;
    • Talwin;
    • Ambien;
    • Tramadol;
    • Xanax; and
    • Ativan.

  • Schedule V – Drugs with the lowest potential for chemical dependency are under Schedule V. They are normally used in the medical community for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. Some examples include:
    • Lomotil;
    • Motofen;
    • Parepectolin; and
    • Lyrica

Texas Penalties for Prescription Drug Fraud

Prescription drug fraud is a serious charge under Texas law. Depending on the circumstances, you may be looking at huge fees and incarceration. The penalties for prescription drug fraud are reliant on what Schedule the drug was found and the context of the offense.

Those who have committed prescription drug fraud with a Schedule V drug may face 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. 

Any person who has committed prescription drug fraud with a Schedule II or IV drug may face a third-degree felony. The maximum legal consequences for a third-degree felony include:

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

If the alleged offender committed prescription drug fraud with a Schedule I or II substance, he or she may face a second-degree felony. The maximum legal ramifications of a second-degree felony include:

  • Up to 20 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000. 

In the event that a person tries to create, manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to deliver a counterfeit prescription drug, he or she will face a class A misdemeanor. The legal consequences for a class A misdemeanor include:

  • Up to 12 months in jail; and
  • A possible fine of up to $4,000.

If a person delivers or attempts to deliver any of the following he or she will face a second-degree felony:

  • A prescription form; or
  • A prescription for a Schedule II drug. 

Additional Resources 

Texas Prescription Drug Fraud Laws - Visit the official website for Texas laws and legislation and find more information regarding prescription drug fraud. Learn the charge specifics, penalties for repeat offenders, and other related drug offenses. 

A Pharmacist’s Guide to Prescription Drug Fraud – Visit the official website for the U.S. Department of Justice, the Diversion Control Division. Here you can find more information on prescription drug fraud, characteristics of forged prescriptions, types of fraudulent prescriptions, and prevention tips.

Prescription Drug Fraud Lawyer in Cameron County, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with prescription drug fraud, it’s critical that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney can assess your case, collect evidence, and create a sturdy defense for you.

Johnathan Gracia is a reputable attorney who is dedicated to his client’s rights. He has the talent, resources, and drive it takes to formulate a strong defense for any degree of offense. Johnathan Gracia is not only experienced but also passionate about criminal defense. Find an attorney who will battle tooth and nail for you at The Gracia Law Firm.

The Gracia Law Firm defends those accused of drug offenses throughout the Cameron County area and surrounding counties including Willacy County and Hidalgo County. 

Call Johnathan Gracia at (956) 504-2211 and schedule a free consultation today.

This article was last updated on November 5, 2018.