New York is one state that punishes all drug use, including prescription medication. While you will not face as hefty charges as narcotics, New York is working to cut down on the prescription fraud that has become a problem for the state. The charges start as basic misdemeanors and range to class C felonies. This means you may be looking at only a year in prison, or could face up to 15 years.
In New York, there is a crime you commit when you abuse prescription medication called the Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medications. This crime means you either knowingly receive (outside of a prescription), deliver, transfer, or get money in exchange for prescription medicine. This is true whether you need or do not need the medication. You are only allowed to receive medication from an authorized dealer, and you must have a current prescription to be filled. The law has four degrees of criminal activity.
With the fourth degree, you have knowingly committed a crime but it is only a misdemeanor. It is considered a class A misdemeanor, but is punishable by time in jail. You can face up to one year in prison, but a defense attorney can get that reduced based on past behavior.
If you have been charged with Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medication in the Third Degree, it means that you have either received or sold over $1000 worth of prescription medication or you have been convicted of this crime in any degree in the past. This is the first level of a felony charge and you may face up to four years in the New York state penitentiary.
Being charged with this criminal act in the second degree will mean you are facing a class D felony. The difference between a second degree and third degree is the value of exchange preformed. For it to be considered a second degree, you must have exchanged at least $3000 worth of medication. The punishment for second degree crime against the criminal diversion act is up to seven years in the New York state prison.
The most egregious offense against the criminal diversion act is when you exchange more than $50,000 worth of prescription medication. This is considered a class C felony, or a criminal diversion of the first degree. You may face up to 15 years in the New York state pen, but that could be adjusted based on other charges, your character, and past behavior.
Fighting a criminal diversion act charge is extremely difficult. It is necessary to have a very experienced and trustworthy attorney to help you through the process. While there is not a set defense they can follow, there are many issues they can get the judge to take into consideration during the trial. More importantly, however, your defense attorney can help you know how to act in court to help your cause. The reason these cases are hard to defend is the fact there are set defenses in the state of New York. The first defense is for the person selling prescription medication, or a statutory defense, and that defense shows that you have the authorization to sell the medication and you are doing so based in good faith. The statutorily recognized defense is used for people who are seeking treatment or a person helping someone seek treatment and purchase prescription medication in good faith. Evidence showing that you believed you were in the right in your actions will need to be given to the defense attorney to make sure they can defend you properly in court.
Your lawyer can further assist you by looking into the investigation and finding out what the prosecution has against you. They will be looking for any confessions, copies of prescriptions, videos, or entrapment. There is very little wiggle room in cases like this, but everything the prosecution acquires must have been done so in a legal manner or it can be thrown out of court.
Other Associated Crimes
The unfortunate part with drug activity, whether it is prescription or street drugs, is that crimes are rarely simple. Often times, you will find yourself facing multiple charges, especially if you have become addicted to the medication. Some of the other charges commonly found with the criminal diversion act violations include grand larceny, insurance fraud, healthcare fraud, and even criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance. These crimes carry a lot harsher sentence than the criminal diversion act alone. This is why it is absolutely necessary that you contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are charged so they can help you with your defense and let you know what steps you can take as you go through the process