It is common knowledge that you can go to jail for selling controlled substances. What happens when you sell fake drugs packaged as narcotics or controlled substances? While you were never in possession of the illegal substances, you can still go to jail.
Both state and federal laws have banned the sale of fake drugs, including illegal ones. Therefore, if arrested, you may face both state and federal charges for drug crimes.
State Law on the Sale of Counterfeit Drugs
The Massachusetts law that bans the sale of counterfeit drugs is contained in the General Law Chapter 94C, Section 34G, which states that it is illegal for anyone to intentionally or illegally create, possess, dispense or distribute counterfeit substances. If arrested, you could spend up to a year in jail or face a fine of between $250 and $2500 based on the gravity of your case.
According to this statute, an intent to distribute counterfeit controlled substances is also illegal and may attract felony charges. There are similar laws in other states.
Federal Anti-Counterfeit Drug Laws
The federal anti-counterfeit drug laws are covered in the 21 U.S.C section 331. It makes it illegal to sell a misbranded or adulterated drug in interstate commerce. Adulterating a drug involves adding some unauthorized substances in the drug, while misbranding involves misrepresenting the drug as another.
Federal Laws on Fraud
In addition to being charged for selling counterfeit drugs, you could go to jail for fraud. Fraud is essentially taking cash from another party under false pretenses. The federal anti-fraud laws are contained in the 18 U.S.C Section 1001.
According to the law, you can be charged for knowingly covering up or concealing an item’s material fact or making fictitious, materially false, fraudulent representation or statement about the item. The law also covers creating and using any document or false that contains fraudulent, fictitious, or materially false statements.
Proving Criminality in the Sale of Fake Drugs
There are two things that the prosecution will consider when charging you for the sale of fake drugs.
- You knowingly made a false statement of the drug in question
- There was an intent to defraud the other party
Typical defenses for this case involve proving that you did not make any intentional false statement about the drug and did not plan to defraud the other party. However, it is still a tricky road as you may be charged with anti-drug laws.
Penalties for Selling Fake Drugs
If you are convicted for selling fake drugs, you could face the following penalties.
- A conviction for criminal fraud may land you in jail for up to five years (18 U.S.C. § 1001.)
- If convicted for the sale of counterfeit drugs involving interstate commerce without the intent to defraud, you could be imprisoned for a year and fined up to $1,000.
- If convicted for the sale of counterfeit drugs in interstate commerce with the intent to defraud, you could be jailed for three years and fined up to $10,000 (21 U.S.C. § 333 (a)(2).
Seek Legal Assistance
Selling fake drugs is a serious crime that could land you in jail for extended periods, especially if you sold the drug to several parties.
If you are charged with selling counterfeit drugs, contact The Fernandez Firm for legal assistance. A lawyer experienced in drug-related cases will handle your case.