Health care providers prescribe various medications every year, including drugs with steep prices and addictive properties. As addiction and recreational use of prescription-only drugs have risen, they have fueled a rise in fraud by people seeking these drugs and by the health care professionals supplying them.
Consequently, Tennessee law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are cracking down on doctors, pharmacists, street dealers, and users. Any such crackdowns always end up involving innocent individuals or result in low-level participants being overcharged.
Sadly, few people know the full extent of the legal consequences of prescription fraud charges. Prescription fraud is taken seriously by authorities in Franklin and throughout Tennessee. Tennessee law imposes harsh penalties on those convicted on charges of prescription medication fraud. If you are charged with using or possessing unauthorized prescription drugs or prescription fraud, your life, career, and future may be seriously impacted.
You need a Franklin prescription fraud defense lawyer who will move forward quickly with your defense. Getting expert legal representation in this matter should be your priority. Our Franklin drug crimes defense lawyers Nash Law represent clients charged with prescription drug fraud. Our legal team has helped clients throughout Tennessee avoid conviction or escape the worst consequences.
If you are facing prescription fraud charges in Franklin or anywhere in Tennessee, you can turn to our attorneys to help you determine the best course of action to investigate your case, build a strong defense, and diligently fight back to minimize the legal consequences of such a serious charge. Call 615-627-4529 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our Franklin prescription fraud defense attorneys.
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What Is Prescription Fraud in Tennessee?
Prescription fraud can be defined as the illegal procurement of controlled substance use for medication. Prescription fraud can occur in pharmacies, hospitals, and other health care facilities where such drugs are stored, prescribed, and/or legally distributed.
According to Tennessee Code § 53-11-416, it is illegal for an individual to:
- Obtain a controlled substance by misrepresenting that they are a health care provider who can prescribe drugs when they are not, in fact, licensed.
- Obtain a controlled substance through the means of forgery, fraud, or deception of any kind.
- Stealing a controlled substance from a medical facility that uses, stores, or distributes medications.
- Acquire a controlled substance by withholding or misrepresenting info from one or more pharmacists, doctors, or any other health care practitioner.
- Manufacture, store, or distribute a controlled substance using a fraudulent or stolen registration number, usually the DEA number.
What Are Some Common Examples of Prescription Fraud?
Prescription fraud can encompass several specific acts, including but not limited to:
- Falsifying or forging prescriptions
- Possession of prescription medication without a valid prescription
- Large scale trafficking of prescription drugs
- Prescription fraud by health care practitioners such as pharmacists and doctors, e.g., clinical theft
- Illegal transportation or distribution of prescription drugs
- Theft of prescription drugs from another person such as a friend, family member, colleague, or even a stranger
Criminal charges associated with prescription fraud in Tennessee will depend on the specific acts of the defendant.
Prescription fraud offenses for acts such as casual exchange, delivery, or simple possession, for example, giving a friend a few of your prescription medication, could lead to a criminal charge for prescription fraud. Such offenses fall under a class A misdemeanor but may quickly change to a felony charge if they involve many drugs.
Prescription fraud acts such as the sale of a controlled substance or drug manufacturing are felony offenses. Whichever the case, prescription fraud is a serious matter. Many fail to realize that they can face serious criminal charges with severe penalties even if not caught with the medications on their person.
If you are facing prescription fraud charges, we recommend you seek legal counsel right away. A Franklin prescription fraud defense attorney can educate you about your case and offer the representation you need to protect your future.
What Are Some of the Penalties for Prescription Drug Fraud in Tennessee?
Regardless of what type of prescription fraud you are charged with, contact an experienced Franklin defense attorney with Nash Law to schedule a free consultation. The state of Tennessee can be relentless when it comes to prescription fraud and other drug crimes, and the penalties for drug crimes are often tough. Securing legal representation with a prescription fraud defense lawyer early can help you begin to put together an aggressive defense strategy that addresses the specifics of your case.
A plethora of factors determine the severity of the penalties one may face for prescription fraud. These include the defendant’s criminal history, the applicable drug schedule classification, and the quantity of prescription drugs involved in the given incident(s).
Below is a look at potential penalties:
- Community service
- Jain and/or prison time
- Forfeiture of property
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Suspension of your professional license (for health care practitioners)
With so much at risk, if you or someone you care for is facing prescription fraud charges, you need to work with a dedicated Franklin prescription fraud defense lawyer to mount a strong defense. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Nash Law, LLC to discuss your case specifics.
What Are Some Examples of Federal Prescription Drug Fraud Charges?
While most prescription fraud cases are filed against Tennesseans in state-level courts, there are situations where the accused, or a group of accused, will be criminally charged for prescription fraud charges in federal court.
Individuals charged with prescription fraud may end up in a federal court if they break the following federal laws:
- 21 U.S. Code § 841 – Prohibited Acts A
Under this law, it is a felony crime to intentionally and knowingly distribute a controlled substance other than for legitimate medical purposes or the usual course of practice.
- 21 U.S. Code § 841 – Attempt and conspiracy
Under this law, it is a felony crime to attempt or conspire with others to commit any offense defined in the 21 U.S. Code § 841 federal statutes.
When Can You Be Charged With Prescription Fraud in a Federal Court?
It’s important to note that there are several instances where an individual may be charged with federal prescription fraud in Tennessee. For example, a doctor can be charged in a federal court for over-prescribing opioids. In other instances, it could involve an individual falsifying documents related to prescriptions to defraud a government healthcare program such as Medicare or Medicaid or defraud an insurance company into making payments.
An individual can also face federal prescription charges in Tennessee for running a “pill mill” or “physician shopping.” The term “pill mill” is used to describe a situation where a health care provider distributes prescription drugs without a legitimate medical need or outside their normal practice. The term “physician shopping” is used to refer to the act of looking for an individual who may be a distributor of legal narcotics but lacks the proper license.
Additionally, an individual may be charged in a federal court for prescription fraud if found in possession of or distributing counterfeit drugs that are not approved and have not been manufactured for medicinal purposes under which they are presented.
Ultimately, any discretion that a law enforcement agency or a prosecutor might have in deciding whether to prosecute a person for prescription fraud in a federal court depends on the jurisdiction where the fraud occurs. The government is very serious about prosecuting those charged with prescription fraud charges. Besides, since prescription fraud cases involve the integrity of the healthcare system and a lot of money, they are prosecuted intensely. If you face a Tennessee federal prescription charge, it is pertinent that you speak with an experienced Franklin prescription fraud defense lawyer immediately.
What Are Some of the Types Penalties for Federal Prescription Fraud?
Prescription fraud is a growing problem, with a substantial percentage of every healthcare dollar in the United States lost in the fraud. Given the severe impacts of prescription fraud, authorities take a firm stance against those charged with prescription fraud. A conviction in a federal court can land you in prison for several years, and the stakes are even higher if the fraud occurred in certain locations like near a church, school, or on federal property.
Regardless of the type of offense, if charged in a federal court, prescription fraud is a felony. Besides, it is possible for a charge of prescription fraud to involve other charges, compounding the potential penalties.
If you face federal prescription fraud charges or other types of drug crimes in Tennessee, it’s time to talk to a Franklin prescription fraud defense attorney. Criminal charges for prescription fraud in a federal court are harsh and come with statutory minimums. The stakes are high, and you or your loved one need the best legal representation to protect your future.
How Can a Franklin Prescription Fraud Defense Lawyer Help Me?
Prescription fraud charges, whether in a state-level or federal court, are serious business. But like any criminal charge, the prosecutor is not entitled to a conviction and must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A Franklin prescription fraud defense lawyer plays a vital role in fighting the prosecution by:
- Examining the evidence – Was the evidence illegally acquired? Is there evidence to legally charge you?
- Protecting your rights – did law enforcement officers or the prosecutor violate your constitutional rights in detaining you or any other step of the process?
An experienced prescription fraud defense attorney will examine these and many other factors to potentially get the charges dropped to preserve your freedom.
Other areas where a prescription fraud defense lawyer can help you include:
- Recommending and implementing a defense strategy
- Jury selection
- Participating in the trial
- Working with you and prosecutors to negotiate a plea bargain
- Advising you on possible outcomes and aid with sentencing
- Assist you with the emotional aspects of your case and give you objective insight into the process.
Contact Nash Law Today for a Free Consultation
Don’t skimp on a prescription fraud defense attorney. When everything is on the line, you want to know you have an experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive defense attorney in your corner. Our Franklin prescription fraud defense lawyers have the experience, tenacity, and resources necessary to defend your case and fight from start to end for your interests.
Here at Nash Law, we have been successfully defending Tennesseans in Franklin and throughout Tennessee for prescription drug charges. Put our tenacity and experience to work for you, and call us at 615-627-4529 to schedule a free case review.