Whether you have an illness, injury or medical disorder, modern medicine likely offers a few different ways to treat it. For many conditions, prescription drugs reduce symptoms or eliminate them altogether. Accordingly, if you need medication to improve your quality of life, seeing a physician is critical.

Doctors receive extensive training on diagnosing and treating medical conditions. They also understand how to check for drug interactions and allergies. As such, even if you think you know what prescription drugs to take, you should not take matters into your own hands. That is, not only may forging a prescription cause you physical harm, but it may also lead to serious criminal consequences.

Valid prescriptions must meet certain criteria

Federal law requires prescriptions to meet certain criteria to be valid. Therefore, every prescription you have should include the following details:

  • The medication’s name, strength and dosage
  • The medication’s quantity and number of refills
  • Directions for proper usage
  • The issuance date
  • A doctor’s signature

Georgia law prohibits two types of conduct

In the Peach State, there are a couple of prescription-related ways to violate the law. First, you may use fraud or forgery to secure a prescription from your doctor or someone else. If you do this, you may meet the elements of a misdemeanor offense. On the other hand, if you forge a prescription or distribute medication without authorization, you may be guilty of a felony. With both offenses, you face potential incarceration. Nonetheless, a felony conviction may land you in prison for up to eight years.

To protect both your health and your freedom, it is important not to forge drug prescriptions. Still, circumstances may encourage you to do just that. There are, fortunately, a variety of possible defenses that may apply to your situation. Nevertheless, by understanding both the law and your potential exposure, you can better plan for defending yourself aggressively against criminal charges.