It is illegal to obtain controlled substances and prescriptions by fraud. Nevada considers it a felony and enforces penalties such as jail time and fines if you’re convicted. However, you won’t just face legal consequences, as your professional and personal life could also take a hit.
You don’t have to tackle the legal system and fight for justice on your own, though. A Las Vegas drug crime defense lawyer at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers can be your advocate. We can determine which laws apply to your case and build a defense strategy with the evidence.
The Laws for Drug Fraud in Nevada
Under NRS § 453.391, the “doctor shopping” law, it’s illegal to unlawfully obtain or try to obtain a controlled substance from a manufacturer, medical professional, or whomever else is permitted to dispense or sell said controlled substance.
It also dictates that if you’re going through treatment and your doctor has prescribed you a controlled substance, it’s illegal to go to another medical provider and obtain that same substance without telling them you’re already taking it.
Nevada classifies this offense as a category C Felony. If the jury convicts you of the crime, you may face one to five years in Nevada State Prison and a fine of up to $10,000, according to NRS § 193.130.
Doctor Shopping and How It Contributed to the Opioid Crisis
Doctor shopping is when someone goes to different doctors and pharmacies to obtain large quantities of a substance. This practice was prevalent with opioids, especially in the 2000s and 2010s, and led to a nationwide opioid crisis. The situation was particularly bad in Florida, where people from out of state would travel about once a month, obtain thousands of pills, go back to their own state, and take the drugs there.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 255 million Americans had opiate prescriptions in 2012 (millions more took them without a prescription). With their easy access and relatively low price, the number of people affected-and even killed-by this epidemic continues to rise. Just over 21,000 people lost their lives to opioid-related overdose in 2010. That number more than tripled in 2020, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
If you are charged with doctor shopping in Nevada, a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney on our team can help you fight the potential penalties.
Possible Defenses for Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud
If you have received charges for obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, that doesn’t mean you have a conviction. Your Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer on our team could choose to use one or more of the following defense strategies to help you avoid a conviction:
- Mistaken identity: You didn’t participate in doctor shopping, and law enforcement mixed you up with someone who did.
- Not knowing you had the drugs: Someone could have placed or left the drugs in your vehicle.
- No prescription drugs: The drugs you possessed were over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
- Entrapment: Law enforcement set you up or coerced you into participating in doctor shopping or otherwise unlawfully obtaining the drugs.
- Failure to read your Miranda Rights: Most of the time, law enforcement must read you your Miranda Rights when they arrest you. If they didn’t, any evidence they unlawfully obtained may not be used against you in court.
- Forgetfulness: You innocently forgot that your doctor prescribed you the drugs you were trying to obtain from another medical professional.
While your testimony is important, it’s not enough to convince a judge or jury that you are not guilty of violating the doctor shopping law. Evidence you can use to support your side of what happened may include doctor’s notes, video surveillance, eyewitness accounts, or the police report.
How a Las Vegas Drug Crime Defense Attorney at Our Firm Can Help You
Learning your rights, what to say and not say, and how the legal proceedings go can become confusing and frustrating quickly. Our Nevada criminal defense attorneys know the system and how to protect your rights. Your lawyer could:
- Build a robust defense strategy
- Work to get your charges dropped
- Gather and compile evidence
- Analyze the prosecution’s evidence and cross-examine their witnesses
- Negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution
- Determine which laws apply to your case
When you face charges for unlawfully obtaining controlled substances, every aspect of your life is at stake. Jail time and fines are just the beginning. If the jury convicts you, you may lose your driving privileges and voting rights, have difficulty getting a job or a loan, or deal with strained personal relationships.
Our Track Record Reflects Our Dedication to Our Criminal Defense Clients
We personalize our approach to every case we take on. You can rely on us to put you first when you go through the court system. Take a look at some of our clients’ experiences with us:
“Great experience. I have had two cases with them and they are very quick to respond to any questions. They notify me about everything that is going on with my case. They made it super easy and took a load off my back. I will be using them for all my future legal needs.” -Andrea
“For having counts for felony, David was able to reduce everything to a misdemeanor that would also not affect my immigration status notwithstanding my previous conviction today, 2/4/15 at Regional Justice Center.” -Fatima
Let’s see how we can help you today.
Turn to Our Nevada Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
If you face a charge for obtaining a controlled substance by fraud in Las Vegas, look no further than De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers. We’re ready to work to get your charges reduced or dropped and help you rebuild your life.
Call us today at (702) 222-9999 to schedule your free consultation.