Generally, in my experience what happens with prescription fraud is a person has a genuine medical issue, and at some point they have been prescribed narcotics. They have got a dependency on narcotics. Unfortunately, sometimes that escalates and then a person might get a hold of a prescription pad. They might doctor shop. There’s different ways to commit the felony of obtaining prescription by fraud or doctor shopping. That’s where I get involved.
It is generally, statistics say, middle-aged, good citizens, never been in trouble before, but they have some type of medical issue that has caused them to turn to prescription drugs.
In the state of North Carolina, once you’re arrested on a felony, you have a first appearance. That particular felony is a class H felony. In North Carolina, felonies are in levels. An A felony is a murder case. An I felony is a lower level felony. It is a lower level felony. However, depending on your record, if you have a record, you could potentially go to jail for a maximum term. If you do not have a record and you’re convicted of a felony, you could be placed on a long supervised probation where you have to see a probation officer once a month for several years, drugs tests, probation fees, court costs, all through the probation. But at the end of all of that, you would have a felony on your record.
What I found as a prosecutor is the same thing as I found as a defense attorney: that people have issues related, a lot of times, to medical issues where they started taking narcotics. They didn’t just start taking drugs to feel good. They have some issue and they’re self-medicating, or they’re taking too much of it. There’s issues like that that I found mostly.
We don’t just go to court, just investigate, and this is your options. We look at what we can do as far as medical providers to help them and get them in the right direction.
The way that our firm approaches things is we look at the whole person. We see what their particular need is. We look at it also, because I’m a prosecutor, as a prosecutor. As a prosecutor I would want to know what is going to happen from now on out that I could be assured that you’re not going to commit this criminal offense again. I want to be assured of that. As a defense attorney I take that and I say, “What can we do to help you so that we know that you’re in a better place and that this behavior will not happen again?”
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