What Are the Penalties for a San Bernardino County Prescription Drug Offense?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jan 17, 2016 | 0 Comments


If you are arrested and charged with a San Bernardino County prescription drug offense, the penalties can be severe.

Prescription medications are “controlled substances” as defined under California law, and the laws that apply to controlled substances such as heroin and cocaine also apply to prescription drugs if they are possessed, used, sold, or acquired wrongfully. Each of these offenses comes with serious consequences including the possibility of jail time

Illegal Possession of Prescription Drugs

You can be charged with a crime under California Health and Safety Code Section 11350 if you are in possession of a prescription drug without a valid prescription, including possessing more of the drug than is authorized in the prescription, possessing more than one prescription, or possessing someone else's prescription.

Violation of Health and Safety Code 11350 is a felony, punishable by:

  • 16 months, or two or three years in a California state prison and
  • a fine of up to $20,000

If you are charged with unlawful possession of a prescription drug, you may be eligible for “drug diversion” which would allow you to serve your time in drug rehabilitation in lieu of prison.

Illegal Possession with Intent to Sell Prescription Drugs

Possessing wrongfully obtained prescription drugs with intent to sell them is a violation of Health and Safety Code 11351. A conviction can result in up to three years in state prison and a fine of up to $20,000. Unlike a conviction for simple possession, a conviction for possession with intent to sell will not have an option of participation in a drug diversion program.

Prescription Fraud

Obtaining prescription medication in San Bernardino County through “fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge” is a crime under Health and Safety Code Section 11173.

There are many ways individuals unlawfully obtain prescription medication through fraud. Stealing, forging, or altering prescription slips, impersonating a physician or other health care professional, and “doctor shopping” - seeing multiple physicians in order to obtain multiple prescriptions for the same drug – are two examples of prescription fraud.

A conviction for a violation of Section 11173 can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor and can result in up to three years in a California state prison or one year in the San Bernardino County Jail.

A conviction for a San Bernardino County prescription drug offense can cost you your freedom and your future. You should speak with an experienced San Bernardino County criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after you are charged, so give us a call today.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


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