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What Are the Penalties for a San Bernardino County Prescription Drug Offense?
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.
There are many ways individuals unlawfully obtain prescription medication through fraud. Stealing, forging, or altering prescription slips, impersonating a physician or other healthcare 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 HS 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 former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.