September 28, 2023
Prescription drugs are very helpful for people suffering from chronic health issues or pain. Unfortunately, these medications can also be used by some for recreation, leading to addiction and abuse.
The opioid epidemic in this country rages on and on – and with it, prescription drug fraud. Prescription drug fraud is a serious drug charge that can lead to severe consequences. Read on to understand what it is and what penalties can be faced in Colorado if you are convicted of it.
Prescription Drug Fraud: What Is It?
In Colorado, prescription drug fraud is defined as an attempt to falsify or fraudulently fill a prescription. It often involves acquiring drugs that are only accessible by prescription through false means.
In Colorado, you cannot obtain a controlled substance through:
- Alteration or forgery of a prescription
- False statements
- Use of a fake identity or address
- Concealment of facts
A prescription drug is considered a controlled substance in the state, as well. Controlled substances are defined under the law as substances, drugs, or precursors to drugs in the official state drug schedules. This includes drugs such as:
- Anabolic steroids
The Penalties for Prescription Drug Fraud in Colorado
If you are charged and convicted with prescription drug fraud in Colorado, you face some serious penalties. It is considered a level 4 drug felony in the state, the penalties for which include up to one year in prison and fines of up to $100,000.
If there are aggravating factors involved in the case, the penalties can be even harsher. The court considers aggravating factors to be circumstances like:
- Serving parole or probation for another crime while committing this one
- Being in confinement when the crime is committed
If aggravating factors are identified, you can face up to two years in prison and fines of as much as $100,000.
The court may also take into account someone’s struggle with drug addiction as the reason behind the prescription drug fraud. In these cases, you may be able to seek drug treatment in lieu of a prison sentence.
If you took this route, you would also have to fulfill other conditions set out by the court. If you complete what the court requires, then you can have the charge reduced. You might even be able to get the conviction vacated.
Other Offenses Related to Prescription Fraud
Other offenses are often charged in conjunction with Colorado prescription fraud. Some of the most common include:
● Drug possession – Depending on the substance and quantity found in a person’s possession, it can be a level 4 drug felony or level 1 misdemeanor in Colorado.
● Selling of drugs – Manufacturing, dispensing, or selling controlled substances in Colorado is against the law. The penalties for the unlawful sale of controlled substance will depend on the amount and type of drug involved in the case. It can be a level 1 drug felony at worst, a level 1 drug misdemeanor at mildest.
● Forgery – If anyone makes false documents or alters existing ones with the intent of fraud, it is called forgery. If a prescription is forged in a prescription fraud case, then it can result in charges for this Class 5 felony in the state, which can lead to up to three years in prison and fines of $100,000.
Prescription fraud is serious, so make sure to understand the charges against you if you are facing them.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.