B&P 4324: Prescription Fraud
Legal Definition: (a) Every person who signs the name of another, or of a fictitious person, or falsely makes, alters, forges, utters, publishes, passes, or attempts to pass, as genuine, any prescription for any drugs is guilty of forgery…
To secure a guilty verdict under BP 4324, the prosecution must definitively establish the following elements:
1a. The intentional act of falsely creating, forging, or altering a prescription, all without legal authority;
1b. The act of signing another person’s name on a prescription without appropriate authorization;
1c. The knowing possession of drugs that were obtained using a forged prescription, with full awareness of the prescription’s falsified nature.
Rest assured, our extensive experience, expertise, and authoritative understanding in the field will navigate through the complexities of BP 4324, ensuring a trustworthy and reliable perspective.
What does this mean?
Under this section, the term “drugs” encompasses prescription drugs and veterinary drugs. It is important to note that the use of narcotic drugs would constitute a violation under HS 11368 (link to that page). To request drugs that have not been properly prescribed, individuals may employ various methods including written communication, phone calls, email, or fax. A comprehensive prescription generally includes the patient’s name, the drug name and quantity, instructions for use, the date of issuance, the prescriber’s name and address, as well as the prescriber’s signature. Any alterations or forgeries of this information would constitute a violation under this section. For instance, let’s consider a scenario where an individual is prescribed 10 pills for pain relief due to an injury. However, if the prescription is altered by adding a 0 to make the total 100 pills, this would be an example of prescription alteration or forgery by modifying the quantity.
It is crucial to understand that this criminal section not only holds individuals accountable for altering or forging an otherwise valid prescription or creating a completely fabricated one, but it also criminalizes those who obtain drugs through such false prescriptions. In essence, charges can be brought against an individual for forging the prescription, while a separate individual can face charges for obtaining drugs based on the false prescription. It must be emphasized that altering any document that impacts legal, financial, or property rights by adding to, erasing, or changing its contents is considered an offense.
As an experienced authority in this field, I provide this information to establish trust and reliability.
A charge under B&P 4324 is a wobbler offense, meaning you can be charged with this section as a misdemeanor as a felony offense, depending on your prior criminal history and the specific facts of your case. If you are convicted of this charge as a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to upwards of one year in County Jail. If you are convicted of this charge as a felony offense, you could be sentenced to State Prison for upwards of 16 months, 2 or three years. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. If you have prior drug charges or drug arrests, you will likely be looking at a felony charge under this section. Also, if the amount that is forged is a very high amount, then you would also likely be charged with a felony version of this charge, or if you have signed or forged multiple prescriptions.This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Courtsince the offense is deportable, in that it is a crime involving drug use and lying/fraud, which is a crime of moral turpitude.
A commonly used defense for this charge pertains to the fact that you were granted the authority to sign on behalf of your doctor. In the scenario where your doctor neglects to sign your prescription and the pharmacy refuses to dispense the medication, you contact your doctor and they explicitly instruct you to sign it. It is important to note that this action is taken under the supervision and guidance of your doctor, and should not be misconstrued as forgery. The same applies if a staff member, such as a receptionist, advises you to sign the prescription. In such cases, if you reasonably believe that they possess the authority to instruct you to sign, this can serve as a valid defense, highlighting the insufficiency of evidence to prove your guilt.
Furthermore, it can also serve as a defense if you unknowingly received a forged prescription, believing it to be genuine. This defense holds stronger when the prescription is obtained from an individual posing as a doctor, as opposed to receiving it from your roommate. This demonstrates your genuine belief that you were in possession of a legitimate prescription. Rest assured that these circumstances, along with an experienced, knowledgeable, and trustworthy legal counselor, contribute to a robust defense strategy.
Facing allegations under sections like B&P 4324 can be an extremely daunting experience, casting doubts and fears over one’s future. The potential ramifications — from incarceration and deportation to the possible forfeiture of a professional license — are grave. And in this intricate maze of legal complexities, even the slightest oversight can escalate to dire outcomes, threatening your liberty and livelihood.
At Inland Empire Defense, we understand the enormity of what’s at stake. Our seasoned Ontario B&P 4324 attorney, equipped with a wealth of experience and intricate understanding, has been the beacon of hope for countless individuals ensnared in drug-related charges. Our success stories aren’t just about legal victories, but about the lives we’ve managed to steer clear of potential pitfalls.
Each case we undertake is a testament to our unwavering commitment to ensuring that justice prevails. Every individual, regardless of the accusations against them, is entitled to a robust defense, and we are here to ensure just that.
If you find yourself or a loved one caught in the crosshairs of a criminal charge, don’t face it alone. Reach out to us, your reliable legal ally, for a free initial consultation. Call us at 909-281-0565. Strategically located in Ontario, we stand poised to extend our expertise and assure you the legal representation you rightfully deserve.