Orange County Doctor Shopping Defense Lawyer
Doctor shopping is a form of prescription drug fraud that involves manipulating or concealing information in order to procure a controlled substance from a medical professional. This crime is taken extremely seriously in California courts and can lead to significant jail time and court fines if the prosecution successfully convicts you. However, with the legal representation from Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, you may be able to beat these charges.
If you have been caught doctor shopping anywhere in Orange County and need to beat the charge, our defense attorneys can explain the charges you're facing and work to keep you out of jail. For over a decade, Law Office of Michael L. Guisti has fought drug crime charges for our clients throughout Southern California and we can do the same for you. Contact us at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 and schedule a free consultation to learn how we can handle your case.
Obtaining or attempting to obtain a prescription for controlled substances by fraud or by concealing important information from your doctor can result in a charge of doctor shopping. This crime is charged under California Health & Safety Code § 11153, which outlines the four possible scenarios where you can face these charges:
- Obtaining a controlled substance through “fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge” or by concealing certain information, such as that you are seeing another doctor
- Lying on a prescription or medical record
- Claiming to be a medical professional in order to obtain a controlled substance
- Placing a false label on a prescription bottle or forging a prescription
What constitutes fraud under this law depends on how you allegedly attempted to get a controlled substance. Doctor shopping can take many forms, including:
- Stealing a doctor’s pad and forging his or her signature
- Creating a fake prescription or label
- Changing the prescribed amount on a prescription
- Over-exaggerating your injuries or pain
- Seeing multiple doctors in order to receive the same medication
It is important to remember that the burden of proof is on the prosecution. While California courts take allegations of doctor shopping very seriously, the law has clear guidelines on who can be convicted and under what circumstances. In order for the Orange County DA to convict you of doctor shopping, they will need to prove that:
- You used fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or concealment
- You intended to obtain a controlled substance
Because fraud is the main element in a charge, fighting that allegation may be the cornerstone of your defense strategy. You may have attempted to obtain a pain mediation both to treat an injury and to deal with a specific addiction, however, those two elements alone do not constitute doctor shopping. The prosecution must demonstrate that you actually lied or concealed information for the charges to be legitimate. In addition, because this is an intent crime, the DA must also show that you actually intended to obtain a controlled substance, however, it is not uncommon for a doctor to incorrectly write a prescription or provide the wrong information to a pharmacy. In these situations, the error would be with the doctor and not you, meaning you cannot be charged.
Convictions of doctor shopping could be filed either as a misdemeanor or a felony, and the difference will largely be based on if you have a criminal history and the severity of your crime. Attempting to obtain large quantities of prescription medication will likely lead to more serious charges than a single refill.
If convicted of misdemeanor doctor shopping, you face up to one year in a county jail and/or a $1,000 fine. However, felony doctor shopping could result in being sent to a California State Prison for up to three years and a $10,000 fine. These charges are complex and sometimes can entail additional charges like possession and possibly possession with intent to sell depending on the quantity that you attempted to obtain. However, with the right attorney, you may be to successfully fight these charges.
Rather than having you spend time in prison or pay fines, a defense attorney from Law Office of Michael L. Guisti could arrange to have you sent to a drug treatment program. Best of all, once you successfully complete the drug treatment program your charges are dropped. However, these programs vary depending on whether or not you have a prior conviction and the severity of your crime. In some cases, doctor shopping may not be eligible for alternative sentencing.
"I was arrested for doctor shopping. I have severe back pain and am on disability for back pain. I went to this doctor, he leaves and soon walking in the door were police to arrest me for doctor shopping. I have never felt so embarrassed. A friend of a friend suggested I call Orange County doctor shopping lawyer Michael L. Guisti at his Irvine office. I did, and told him what happened. Mr. Guisti showed the judge all my paperwork, talked to the judge and I was set free. Thank God for people like attorney Michael L. Guisti, because I thought this was going to drag out for a long time, but Mr. Guisti went to the court and took care of it in no time."
Not only will our legal team go over and explain the complexities of this charge, but if you have not been formally charged by the Orange County District Attorney formally files charges, our Orange County drug crime defense attorney can work with them to reduce your charges and get you into a drug treatment program. Our lawyer will also investigate the police actions that led to your arrest, which could result in your case being dismissed.
The very serious charges you're facing could result in years behind bars and a ruined reputation. For this reason, you need to call Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 right away.
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.