California law classifies prescription medications as “controlled substances” that are subject to the same laws as illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Illegal Possession of Prescription Drugs in California
California Health and Safety Code Section 11350 makes it a crime to possess a prescription drug with no valid prescription, to possess more of the drug than the prescription authorizes, to possess more than one prescription of the same drug, or to possess another person's prescription. This crime is a felony, carrying a maximum $20,000 fine and 16 months, or two or three years, in prison. But the defendant may be eligible for diversion, which would allow him/her to do rehab in lieu of prison.
Illegal Possession with Intent to Sell Prescription Drugs in California
California Health and Safety Code 11351 makes it a crime to possess wrongfully obtained prescription drugs with intent to sell them. It is a felony carrying a maximum $20,000 fine and up to 3 years in prison.
Prescription Fraud in California
California Health and Safety Code Section 11173 makes it a crime to obtain prescription medication through “fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge." Examples of wrongfully obtaining prescription meds including stealing, forging or changing prescription slips, impersonating a doctor or other healthcare professional, and “doctor shopping. This crime can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor carrying a maximum of one year in jail or as a felony carrying a maximum of three years in prison. A conviction for a Riverside County prescription drug offense can cost you your freedom and future. You should talk with an experienced Riverside County criminal defense lawyer at once after you are charged, so give us a ring today. (See our article San Bernardino drug possession offenses.)