Criminal Diversion of Prescriptions: The Different Degrees of the Crime
New York has, for many years, battled the prescription drug epidemic. The epidemic was brought about by people who diverted opioids into the illegal market. However, New York remains strict at implementing laws that govern prescription diversion (NY Penal Law Article 178), hoping that this epidemic will end one day.
Law enforcement officers usually charge individuals for criminally diverting prescriptions by following NY PL 178. Law enforcers will charge you when they suspect an illegal exchange of prescription drugs for monetary value. According to section 178, a criminal diversion act is any act involving the;
- Transfer of prescriptions and prescription devices to someone not in need of the prescriptions or prescription devices in exchange for something of pecuniary value.
- Recipience of prescriptions or prescription devices in exchange for something of pecuniary value.
Note, for an individual to be found guilty of a prescription diversion crime, they must have committed any of the above actions knowingly.
In New York, criminal diversion of prescriptions falls into four different degrees. A person can be charged with criminal diversion of prescriptions in the fourth, third, second, or first degree.
Below is a look at the above differing degrees of the crime of prescription diversion.
The Crime of Prescription Diversion in Fourth Degree (NY PL 178.10)
Under section 178.10 of the New York penal law, an individual is guilty of a prescription diversion crime in the fourth degree when they commit a criminal diversion act.
According to the same section, this type of crime is a class A misdemeanor. Such a crime is punishable by a jail term of up to 1 year.
The Crime of Prescription Diversion in Third Degree (NY PL 178.15)
Under section 178.15 of the New York penal law, an individual is guilty of this crime in the third degree if they;
- Criminally divert prescriptions and receive a benefit exceeding $1,000 from the exchange.
- Commit a fourth-degree offense, yet they are a previous fourth-degree offender. In such a case, the value of the benefit does not need to exceed $1,000.
This crime is a class E felony. In New York, such a crime is punishable by a jail term of up to 4 years.
The Crime of Prescription Diversion in the Second Degree (NY PL 178.20)
Under section 178.20, an individual is guilty of criminal diversion of prescriptions in the second degree when they commit a diversion act and receive a benefit exceeding $3,000.
Illegal diversion of prescriptions in the second degree is a class D felony. Guilty parties stand to spend up to 7 years in state prison.
The Crime of Prescription Diversion in the First Degree (NY PL 178.25)
Under section 178.25, you’re guilty of the crime in the first degree when you commit a diversion act, and you receive a benefit exceeding $50,000.
Criminal diversion of prescriptions in the first degree is a class C felony. Guilty parties risk spending up to 15 years in state prison.
Contact a Qualified Prescription Diversion Attorney Today
If you are charged with prescription diversion, you need to consult an attorney immediately. Contact NYC criminal attorney Mark I. Cohen, Esq., today to schedule a consultation.