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Criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance or of a controlled substance by a practitioner or pharmacist

It is impossible to dispute the alarming rise in prescription drug, and general drug abuse (i.e. use of glass bongs) abuse across the United States in recent years. New York has not been immune to this scourge, and legislators have chosen to take action. State statute prohibits the criminal sale of a controlled substance prescription, and conviction of this offense brings the potential for stringent sanctions including lengthy terms of incarceration.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has confirmed that the problem of prescription drug abuse has skyrocketed and impacts individuals from all segments of society. Among the drugs most frequently abused despite being the subject of a prescription are: fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, meperidine, diazepam, amphetamines and alprazolam.

It should be noted that all of the above medications are capable of yielding important benefits to individuals who take them according to instructions given with a valid prescription, when they are abused, the have the ability to produce dire effects that are not unlike those of street drugs. The risk of harm is great, and that is why New York has initiated attempts to curb this very dangerous trend.

New York Penal Law 220.65

A key statutory provision in New York designed to battle back against the increase in prescription drug abuse is Penal Law 220.65. It renders it illegal for any physician, dentist, veterinarian, scientist, podiatrist or other person duly licensed to permit the use of a controlled substance to sell prescriptions that are unrelated to good faith execution of his or her professional duties.

Because the crime of settling a prescription is taken so very seriously in New York, the offense itself is categorized as a Class C felony. Conviction can bring up to 15 years in prison, including a minimum term of between 3 1/2 to 7 years if the defendant has a record of previous felony convictions. This is in addition to possible monetary penalties reaching up to $15,000, lengthy terms of probation, job loss, revocation of employment-related licenses and a range of other detrimental consequences.

Potential Defense Strategies in Prescription Drug Sale Cases

Though defendants often feel as though they are unlikely to prevail when it comes time to answer to a charge of criminally selling a prescription for controlled substances. It must be remembered, however, that in many cases there are viable defense tactics that can be raised with the help of an experienced attorney. It may be possible to successfully argue that the prescription underlying such an allegation was in fact written for a legitimate medical reason and in furtherance of professional duties. A defendant may also assert that the prescription at issue was written without any knowledge of intent on the part of a recipient to sell it.

Importance of an Aggressive Legal Defense

There can be no doubt that a conviction on a prescription drug-related charge in New York will have ripple effects that can last a lifetime. From long-term incarceration to onerous fines, the impact of being found guilty is something every accused individual must fight to avoid. Aligning with an experienced criminal defense practitioner as soon as possible is the best way to do just that.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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