If you have the misfortune of being accused in New York of any degree of the crime of Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medications and Prescriptions, it is imperative that you retain an attorney experienced in handling fraud related to prescription medications. As a skilled defense attorney and former prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office under Robert Morgenthau, I am able to aggressively challenge a prosecutor’s evidence to get the best disposition possible.
Whether you are charged with Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medications and Prescriptions in the First Degree, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, or the lowest offense of Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medications and Prescriptions in the Fourth Degree, punishable by up to one year in city or county jail, a skilled attorney will advise you of your potential defenses in order to try to beat the case or get you the best deal while maintaining your livelihood and integrity.
While the dollar amount of the benefit exchanged during the criminal diversion directly impacts the level of the crime, i.e., the more money involved in the transaction the more serious the offense, the cases hinge on whether there was a “criminal diversion act.”
In order to prove such an offense, the prosecution must prove that you transferred, delivered or received for anything of pecuniary value, a prescription medication or device with knowledge or reasonable grounds to believe that the recipient, seller, or transferor has no medical need for it or is not authorized by law to transfer or sell it. Another way prosecutors establish a “criminal diversion act” is to establish merely that you transferred or received a prescription in exchange for something of pecuniary value.
Although this sweeping definition may intimidate an inexperienced attorney, there are many ‘built in” defenses to these charges right in New York State Penal Law. Specifically, the provisions of this statute do not apply to licensed physicians or other professionals. Moreover, a pharmacist acting in “good faith” is not subject to this offense or a person acting in “good faith” seeking treatment or assisting an individual seeking treatment.
These provisions in the statute are an experienced defense attorney’s sword to protect you from an overzealous prosecutor. “Good faith” is not black or white, but a skilled defense attorney may be able to stop the snowballing of allegations or an indictment by confronting the prosecutor with prior cases defining “good faith” and by respectfully explaining how you in fact were acting in “good faith.”