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Just because a drug can be legally used when validly prescribed does not lessen its crime value when the same drug has been obtained or issued in violation of the law. Under Federal Law various drugs are assigned according to their category. Schedule 1 drugs are available only for research purposes and have no approved medical use. All drugs within Schedule 2 to 4 are available only by prescription and are heavily regulated and controlled. In fact a Schedule 2 drug cannot even be refilled. Schedule 5 drugs are generally available over the counter. The point being that these drugs have been determined to have limited use and to be only used under medical oversight and for valid medical reasons.

All other uses are outside the law and are a violation of the law. This has not stemmed the illegal use of the drug and many recreational drug users have turned to prescription stimulants, depressants, sedatives or mood drugs in order to experience the effects of these drugs.

Being involved in any aspect of this activity is a drug crime and can mean deep trouble. You should enlist the help of a Tampa drug defense lawyer who is experienced in handling prescription drug cases as soon as possible. Call our team at Taracks & Associates today to learn about your defense options!

Types of Prescription Fraud

Central Florida, in particular, has seen an explosive growth in the fraudulent issuance or forgery of prescriptions. In some areas, moratoriums against the opening of new clinics have taken place in an attempt to curb this problem.

The types of offenses include such activities as:

  • Shopping for doctors, which means traveling to various practitioners hoping to gain a "yes"
  • Illegally removing drugs from a medical office, clinic or pharmacy for resale, distribution or personal use
  • Handing out drugs without a prescription "on the side"
  • Forging a prescription
  • The over prescription of drugs or without a valid medical reason
  • Kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies

These are serious crimes and are treated as other drug offenses even though no "street dealing" may be involved. They can cost you your livelihood, your professional status and time in jail

What is Doctor Shopping?

"Doctor shopping" is a prescription drug crime that involves visiting multiple doctors without informing the others of one's actions, usually in an attempt to get multiple prescriptions for powerful painkillers such as Hydrocodone or Oxycodone. In Florida, doctor shopping may also be referred to as the crime of "withholding information from a practitioner." Doctor shopping may be related to prescription fraud as well, if the offender is accused of fraudulently obtaining prescriptions.

A defendant may face a doctor shopping conviction in Tampa if the prosecuting attorney an prove that he or she visited multiple doctors within a short time period in order to obtain multiple prescriptions and did not inform one or more of these doctors that he or she had visited other health care professionals. The potential sentence for a "withholding information from a practitioner" conviction is up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. It is a third degree felony offense.

Defense Against the Illegal Use, Sale or Distribution of Prescription Drugs

Often crimes relating to prescription drug crimes affect those that might otherwise never need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. A medical professional could be challenged as to the validity of their prescriptions or a clinic held responsible for missing inventory. One's normal legal resources are more likely to have strengths in corporate law or business accounting than in building a defense against violations prescription drug issuance.

Yet as this crime will be viewed as a drug related offense the penalties can be equally as harsh. Particularly in the case of a medical professional or otherwise respected clinic and/or pharmacy the outcome can be extremely negative. Not only are the legal penalties quite negative it also can mean the temporary or even permanent loss of licensing and reputation.

Any aspect of defending against prescription drug offense charges can be quite complex and can take time. Experience and familiarity are keys to building your defense. Our Tampa criminal defense attorney handles prescription fraud, doctor shopping and all related prescription drug crimes in the Tampa area.

Contact Taracks & Associates today if you were arrested for prescription drug crimes in Tampa!

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With more than 30 years of experience on both sides of the law, Attorney Barry Taracks has the knowledge and insight needed to build an effective defense for you. 

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