Can You Get in Trouble for Selling Your Prescription Meds?

September 26, 2022 by Seppi Esfandi in California  Criminal Defense  
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Selling Your Prescription Medication for Money?

Narcotics are still a big problem in the United States. In the same way, in most states, it is a very serious crime to deal with or sell prescription medications. So, what differentiates between having or owning a prescription and selling prescription meds, and which California penal code sections are relevant?

It is against the law of the state of California to possess a controlled substance without a proper prescription. This sanction is true for illegal substances like heroin, cocaine, and LSD, as well as prescription medications like Adderall, Ativan, Concerta, Focalin, Zoloft Xanax, codeine, and opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin. A defendant would only be held criminally responsible for possessing the medicine in issue if they lacked a prescription that authorized them to have the medications.

Recently in California, Proposition 47 was approved, which lowered the severity of this crime to that of a misdemeanor in most situations. The statute allows for a maximum sentence of one year in prison and significant penalties imposed by the court. The court can grant the defendant permission to participate in a drug treatment program that is part of a drug diversion program. These programs are permitted by Proposition 36 and Section 1000 of the Penal Code, respectively.

Possession of Prescription Medication to Sell

According to California Health and Safety Code 11350, it is a felony to be in possession of a substance that is branded as controlled, including prescribed ones, to sell. These charges, however, do not apply to licensed personnel who sell prescription medications, including pharmacists in their line of duty.

Illegal prescription drug selling or distribution can be done in a few different ways. For instance, a person legally permitted to possess a medication but then sells or supplies that medication to another individual might be prosecuted and convicted of illegally distributing drugs. Suppose a physician or another type of health care practitioner writes prescriptions for a patient that is either unnecessary to the patient’s health condition or is a dosage beyond what the patient genuinely requires. In that case, they might face felony charges. A similar prosecution can be brought against a pharmacist who intentionally fills an invalid prescription with the intent to commit the crime.

The court has the burden of proof on the following for you to be found guilty:

  • You possessed the prescription medication.
  • You were aware of their presence.
  • You intended to sell the drug while you were in possession of it.

Sanctions for Illegally Distributing Prescription Medication in the State of California

If evidence suggests you intended to sell the illicit narcotics, you will be convicted for possessing restricted substances for sale. However, However, this is dependent on the particulars of your case. If you are found guilty of the charge, you may face up to two, three, or four years in county prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

Suppose you are arrested while attempting to sell prescription drugs to another individual. In such a circumstance, you might be prosecuted for selling or carrying a restricted substance, a serious violation of California’s controlled substance statutes. In addition, committing this offense can get you up to a year of probation, three to five years in county jail, or up to nine years in state prison if you cross the county boundaries of at least two different states. A qualified criminal defense attorney who can help you build your defense is extremely beneficial.

Defenses for Selling Prescription Meds

Some typical defense techniques are:

  • Contesting the evidence collecting process as being illegal
  • Entrapment
  • That there was not a likely reason for a traffic stop to begin with.
  • That there was insufficient evidence to support the arrest based on reasonable suspicion.
  • Police delinquency.
  • Results of tests that have been botched.
  • Breaches of the Constitution like not having your Miranda rights read to you after you were arrested.

Defendants accused of unlawfully distributing prescription medications may argue they possessed the pills for personal use. Health care practitioners or pharmacists may say they have medically sound reasons for issuing prescriptions or no cause to suspect filling an improper prescription scales, packing, or currency might trigger these charges from an overzealous prosecutor.

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Lara S.
December 3, 2019
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

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