California Business & Professions Code Section 4323 BPC: False Representation To Obtain A Drug

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimedrug crime

Prescription drug addiction is a growing concern among legislators and law enforcement agencies. There is a concern that addicts or others who may unlawfully seek prescription drugs may try to obtain drugs from a pharmacist by posing as a doctor or other person who can legally write prescriptions. Under California Business and Professions Code Section 4323 BPC, it is illegal to make false representations electronically or telephonically to a pharmacist in order to obtain a drug.

In order to prove that a defendant is guilty of violating California Business and Professions Code Section 4323 BPC, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant falsely represented himself or herself to be a physician or other person who can lawfully prescribe a drug, in order to obtain a drug

  2. AND the misrepresentation occurred in a telephone or electronic communication with a pharmacist

  3. OR the defendant falsely represented that he or she is acting on behalf of a person who can lawfully prescribe a drug, in order to obtain a drug

  4. AND the misrepresentation occurred in a telephone or electronic communication with a pharmacist.
2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Excessive Prescribing of Drugs – California Business and Professions Code Section 725(b) BPC
  2. Counterfeit Prescription Blank – California Health and Safety Code Section 11162.5 HSC
  3. Doctor Shopping / Prescription Fraud – California Health and Safety Code Section 11173 HSC
3. Examples

A man is at his doctor’s office when he overhears a registered nurse calling in a prescription to a local pharmacy. When no one is looking, the man gets on the office phone and calls in a prescription for potent painkillers in his name by claiming that he is a doctor authorized to write prescriptions. Among other offenses, this man could be charged with making a false representation to obtain a drug in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 4323 BPC.

In another example, a man is at his doctor’s office when he notices a prescription pad that was left out in the open. The man takes the pad and writes several prescriptions in his name for strong sedatives and painkillers. He then takes the prescriptions to pharmacies around town in order to have them filled. While this man may be guilty of counterfeit prescription blank under California Health and Safety Code Section 11162.5 HSC, he would not be criminally liable under California Business and Professions Code Section 4323 BPC because the misrepresentation did not occur telephonically or via electronic communication.

4. Defenses to False Representation to Obtain a Drug

As mentioned above, this offense requires that the false representation be made over the telephone or via electronic communication. If the false representation was not made in such a manner, the defendant would not be guilty under this statute. Additionally, a defendant may make a variety of false statements in order to obtain prescription drugs from a pharmacist. However, if the defendant did not specifically represent that he or she is a physician or someone else who is authorized to write prescriptions or someone acting on their behalf, there would be no criminal liability under California Business and Professions Code Section 4323 BPC.

5. Penalties

Falsely representing oneself as a physician or other person who can lawfully prescribe a drug via telephonic or electronic communication is a misdemeanor level offense. Those convicted can be sentenced to serve up to a year in prison in addition to whatever other conditions of probation that a judge may elect to impose.

6. Criminal Defense for False Representation to Obtain a Drug Cases

If you have been charged with making a false representation to a pharmacist telephonically or electronically in order to obtain a drug, it is critical that you consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut possesses the skills and knowledge necessary to provide top notch representation to his clients who have been charged with drug offenses. Mr. Kraut is widely respected throughout the court system and fights hard on behalf of his clients.

For more information about false representations to obtain a drug, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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