Many prescription drug users become addicted after obtaining drugs through a valid prescription after an injury or surgery. Others have engaged in the recreational use of prescription-drugs. With use of prescription drug use on the rise, both state and federal authorities are looking to crack down on illegal dealing. Florida has gained notoriety as the nation’s epicenter for prescription-drug abuse.
Last year, Florida authorities launched a task force to stop doctors from prescribing narcotics to addicts or other distributers. The idea was to curb the dangerous dispensing and abuse of prescription drugs by cutting off dealers at their source-often local doctors who allegedly profit from the distribution of legal prescription medications.
Now, a case involving one defendant has raised questions about law enforcement efforts and the ability to effectively charge and penalize doctors involved in the illegal distribution of prescription drugs.
A doctor with two Orlando offices had armed guards and lines of patients who knew they could obtain an illegal prescription or restock on their inventory, according to reports. The doctor was charged earlier this year after an expensive and extensive investigation. He pled guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering last month and could have faced up to 30 years in state prison. Now, if a judge approves his plea deal, the doctor will only face six months at the Orange County Work Release Center.
The prosecution has agreed to reduce his sentence in exchange for state’s evidence. While the plea bargain may have incited some authorities, legislators, and even citizens who hoped for stiffer penalties against the doctor, it also demonstrates the ability to reduce penalties, even after a guilty plea.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a drug crime, it is important that an immediate investigation be performed to protect your rights and minimize charges or penalties in your case. Sound advocacy and negotiation skills can improve your opportunities to challenge the evidence waged against you.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Sweetheart plea deal sours drug war efforts,” August 9, 2012.
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