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Altering/Forging Prescription Drugs in California

What does the law say about prescription drugs?

Every person who

  • Forges a Prescription
  • Alters a Prescription
  • Issues an Altered Prescription
  • Utters an Altered Prescription
  • Issues or Utters a Prescription bearing a forged or fictitious signature for any Narcotic Drug.
  • Obtains any narcotic drug by any forged, fictitious, or altered prescription
  • Has in Possession any narcotic drug secured by a forged, fictitious, or altered prescription

… is Guilty of a Misdemeanor or Felony.

What is the legal meaning of “Utter”?

            To “utter” is to speak, express, or communicate a forged document–– in this case, a forged prescription.

What is a Narcotic?


Narcotics include drugs that dull the senses or alter perception. A “Narcotic” usually describes a drug that cannot be possessed or transported legally without the permission of a physician.

Commonly Forged Prescription Narcotics: Codeine, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin, Morphine, etc.

Elements of the Offense

       To prove that you were guilty of Forging a Narcotic Prescription, the government must fulfill the following criteria…

  • You obtained or possessed a narcotic drug
    • Possession= the ability to control the substance
  • You were aware of the drug's presence
  • You knew it was a narcotic drug
  • You possessed a usable amount (enough to have an effect on the user)
  • The narcotic was obtained using a forged prescription
  • You knew it was a forged prescription
  • For Distribution: you falsified the prescription with the intent to distribute a narcotic.

What are the penalties?

Misusing or Altering a prescription drug is a “Wobbler”.

  • A Wobbler offense is one that can be charged as either a Misdemeanor (carrying a punishment of less than one year of county jail time) or a Felony (Over a year in state prison).
  • The prosecutor of your case will decide how you are charged based on your criminal history and the facts of your case.
  • With regards to Narcotics, dealing them is usually what is considered a felony.

As a Misdemeanor H&S §11368 is punishable by…

As a Felony H&S §11368 is punishable by…

Legal Defense Strategies: How We Can Help.

  • You possessed but did not actually attempt to use the forged prescription.
    • EXAMPLE: Johnny gives you a fake prescription to get a bottle of codeine from the pharmacy. You knew it was fake and got cold feet in the parking lot, so you went back home.
  • You were not aware of the presence of the drug.
    • EXAMPLE: Paul is driving his brother's car. Paul is pulled over for a speeding ticket and a fake prescription was found in the car. Since he did not know it was there, he is not guilty of forging a prescription.
  • You were not aware that the prescription was forged.
    • EXAMPLE: Kareem gives you his prescription and tells you to grab it for him from the pharmacy. The pharmacist is suspicious and calls law enforcement. Because you did not know Kareem's prescription was fake, you are not guilty of a crime.

Contact William S. Kroger Today

If you are in need of an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, CA who is proficient in marijuana, drug & criminal law, there’s simply no better attorney than William S. Kroger. Contact Me