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Forging or Altering a Prescription Law & Defense

California HS 11368 & BP 4324 Crimes

The laws on the crime of Forging or Altering a Prescription are found at California Health & Safety Code section 11368, and Business & Professions Code section 4324. The laws and punishments are vary similar for these offenses and differences are noted below.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of HS 11368 the district attorney must prove:

  • The defendant either forged or altered a prescription, and
  • The prescription was used for narcotics, and
  • The defendant knew that the prescription was forged or altered.

It is a violation of HS 11368 even if the defendant is not the person who forged or altered the prescription if the defendant otherwise meets the other requirements for the offense (used the prescription to obtain narcotics while having knowledge that the prescription was forged).

The same is true if the defendant forged or altered a prescription but did not actually offer the prescription himself or herself. In other words, even if the defendant only forged or altered a prescription and gave it to someone else to use he or she is still criminally liable under HS 11368.

If the defendant actually obtains the drugs by way of the forged or altered prescription then the defendant may also be charged with additional criminal charges under HS 11368, because HS 11368 only deals with the actual forgery and not necessarily the receipt of the drugs or narcotics. BP 4324(b) covers crimes of possession of drugs by forged prescription.

Sentence for HS 11368 & BP 4324

Forging or Altering a Prescription may be charged under HS 11368 as a felony or as a misdemeanor. Whether the crime is charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor is within the control of the prosecuting attorney. When the prosecuting attorney is deciding whether to charge HS 11368 as a felony or as a misdemeanor the two most important factors are the egregiousness of the criminal conduct and the defendant's criminal history.

When forging or altering a prescription is charged as a felony under HS 11368 the defendant may face up to three years in prison. When forging or altering a prescription is charged as a misdemeanor under HS 11368 the defendant may face up to one year in the county jail.

Sometimes it is possible to reduce, or obtain a dismissal of, a charge of forging or altering a prescription under HS 11368.

If convicted of forging or altering a prescription under HS 11368 the defendant, in addition to possible jail time, may face other penalties. These penalties include: Immigration consequences (for non-U.S. citizens), fines, restitution, registration as a drug offender with the local police, professional license restriction or revocation, civil lawsuits, and more.

Sentences and Punishment for HS 11368, BP 4324(a), and 4324(b) are virtually identical. Felony convictions of either crime also carry firearm prohibition.

Defense to Forging a Prescription

Common defenses to HS 11368 charges include: insufficient evidence to prove the defendant forged a prescription or knew the prescription he or she had in possession was actually forged, coerced confession, and more.

If you have been charged with the California crime of forging or altering a prescription under HS 11368, contact our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation.

Our criminal defense attorneys dedicate one hundred percent their law practice to criminal defense. We have successfully handled hundreds of misdemeanor and criminal charges and our attorneys are available 24/7 to answer all of your questions. Call today!


Crimes related to HS 11368

  • BP 4324(a) Misdemeanor Forgery of Prescription
  • BP 4324(a) Felony Forgery of a Prescription
  • BP 4324(b) Possession of Drugs by Forged Prescription
  • BP 4324(b) Felony Possession Drugs by Forged Prescription

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California Forging or Altering a Prescription Health & Safety Code 11368 & BP 4324 Law & Defense

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