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Health and Safety Code 11154: Prescribing a Controlled Substance without Treatment Laws in California

H&S 11154: Prescribing a Controlled Substance without Treatment

Legal Definition:

“(a) Except in the regular practice of his or her profession, no person shall knowingly prescribe, administer, dispense, or furnish a controlled substance to or for any person or animal which is not under his or her treatment for pathology or condition other than addiction to a controlled substance, except as provided in this division.

(b) No person shall knowingly solicit, direct, induce, aid, or encourage a practitioner authorized to write a prescription to unlawfully prescribe, administer, dispense, or furnish a controlled substance.”

To be found guilty under HS 11154 the prosecution must prove:

  1. You are a licensed medical practitioner;
  2. You prescribed or administered a controlled substance to a person;


  1. You were not treating the person for a legitimate medical condition.

What does this mean?

This charge penalizes a physician to prescribe controlled substances to patients that you have not properly treated. For example, you could be charged here to prescribe a person a controlled substance, as a friend, who does not need that medication, and you’re either doing it for a nominal fee or to help a friend you have never treated.

This section does not require an actual written prescription. For example, at a hospital, a doctor could prescribe a narcotic for treatment to a patient without diagnosing them, and they likewise are liable under this section. You can also be punished under this section for prescribing treatment to an animal (non-person) without the doctor having properly treated and assessed the patient. A controlled substance as defined here is a drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession, and use are regulated by the government.


A charge under HS 11154 is a wobbler offense. This means you could be charged with this crime as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Whether you are charged with this crime as a misdemeanor or as a felony depends on your criminal history, the specific facts of your case, as well as your personal history. If you are convicted of this charge as a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to County Jail for up to one year. If you are convicted of this charge as a felony, you could be sentenced to State Prison for 16 months, 2 or 3 years. You are required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You would also be subject to a fine of up to $20,000 for a conviction.

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 suspension or loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Court since the offense is deportable, in that it is a crime of moral turpitude.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. Coerced Confessions

You cannot be found guilty of the charge if you can show you did a legitimate treatment plan to your patient. If the Prosecutor cannot show you the lack of a treatment plan, then they fail to establish a required element to convict you. Failing to show this, would be insufficient evidence as a defense, and your case would be dismissed.

Police can also work to sometimes coerce confessions out of you with overbearing police contact. This can happen if police are trying to force you into confessing that you intentionally were prescribing controlled substances to a person you were not treating. Police could promise leniency if you confess, which would lead to a violation and the ability for your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney to argue that your confession should be thrown out of Court since police coerced it out of you.

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Facing charges under HS 11154, particularly as a physician, is not just a legal battle; it’s a fight for your entire career and future. The repercussions of a conviction in illegal prescription crimes can be catastrophic, potentially leading to the loss of your medical license and the ability to practice, rendering years of education and the burden of student loans futile.

In such critical circumstances, the caliber of your legal defense is paramount. Our attorney specializing in HS 11154 cases at Inland Empire Defense brings a wealth of experience and a notable track record in this specific field. We understand the nuances and complexities involved in defending against charges of illegal prescription crimes and are committed to providing a vigorous defense tailored to your unique situation.

We recognize the gravity of what’s at stake for you both personally and professionally. Our team is not only skilled in legal advocacy but also in understanding and addressing the broader impacts on your life and career.

Do not navigate these challenging waters alone. For expert legal guidance and to explore the most effective defense strategies, contact Inland Empire Defense at 909-939-7126. Our office is strategically located in Ontario, ensuring easy access and prompt assistance. We are here to protect your rights and help secure your future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Does the attorney offer confidential consultations?

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Does the attorney offer payment plans?

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Is the consultation free?

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Are the consultations in person or only over the phone?

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Is the office open on weekends?

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Does the attorney serve all of California?

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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