If you have been arrested in the Orlando area for a violation of Florida Statute Section 893.13(7)(a)(8)(-9), commonly known as Withholding Information from Doctor or “Doctor Shopping” you will need an aggressive and experienced attorney to defend your case. The State of Florida sees the overuse of prescription medication as a huge problem. Because of this the State will go to great lengths to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.
Florida has the largest number of “pain management” clinics in America. It is the State’s position that many of these clinics overmedicate patients creating a large population of addicts. Some doctors prescribe very strong drugs such as morphine or oxycotin to patients for the duration of a worker’s comp or auto accident case, only to cut the prescription “cold turkey” when litigation is over. Without proper procedures to wean patients off of these medications, regular people can end up looking for these addictive drugs on the black market or by illegal means. To compensate for this perceived problem, the State has passed several laws that they feel are needed to protect the public. The “doctor shopping” law is one of these laws.
Florida Statute Section 893.13(7)(a), states that it is unlawful for any person:
- To withhold information from a practitioner from whom the person seeks to obtain a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance that the person making the request has received a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance of like therapeutic use from another practitioner within the previous 30 days.
- To acquire or obtain, or attempt to acquire or obtain, possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge.
This means if you do not tell one doctor that you are seeing another doctor for the same condition, or if you do not tell one doctor that you have gotten a similar prescription from another doctor, you can be guilty of a crime. Also, if you fake symptoms to obtain a prescription you can be guilty of a crime. Going from one emergency room to another to ask for the same type of prescription is a violation of this law as well.
YOUR PHARMACY RECORDS ARE NOT PROTECTED BY HIPPA!! This means a detective can walk into a pharmacy and ask the person at the counter for a list of prescriptions that you have filled to see if you have violated the law. The officers also have access to databases that will show all prescriptions you have had filled and which doctors wrote the prescriptions. If they feel you have broken the law they will arrest you!
Doctor shopping is a third degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years in Florida State Prison and a $5,000.00 fine. BUT if you are caught with a significant amount (and to the State one months prescription of say 30 pills can be ‘significant”) the State will charge you with trafficking. Trafficking charges carry a three year minimum mandatory sentence.
In many cases the charge of “doctor shopping” is brought about by unfortunate circumstances. Many times the person who is looking to physicians for these prescriptions are victims of unscrupulous practitioners. They are normal everyday people who often suffer from chronic pain and/or addiction issues.
At the law offices of Finebloom & Haenel, we not only know how to defend you against these charges, but we understand that this charge carries a stigma. The process of defending one of these cases can be embarrassing and overwhelming for the person accused. Our attorneys and support staff care about you. We will do our best to zealously represent you, while also respecting and addressing all of your privacy concerns. Don’t delay! The State takes this charge very seriously and so should you.
Call us today at 407-218-6277 discuss your situation. We are available by phone 24/7 to take your call.