Health and Safety Code 11533

California Health and Safety Code 11533, or Misuse of Prescription Medicine falls under California Prescription Fraud and California Drug Crime laws.


The law applies directly to medical practitioners who fraudulently misuse their power to furnish prescribed drugs to patients who don’t need them. This penal code made headlines during several high profile cases relating to celebrity deaths.


In order to prosecute for California Health and Safety Code 11533, the state has the burden to prove that the following occurred:


  • A medical practitioner prescribed a controlled substance that was:
  • Not for a justified medical purpose
  • Scripted to a drug addict
  • Not in the typical practice area


Misuse of Prescription Medicine or California Health and Safety Code 11533 can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony, and those found guilty can face:


  • Misdemeanor: Up to one year in the county jail, and or up to $20,000 in fines
  • Felony: Up to one year in the California State Prison, and or up to $20,000 in fines


Legal Defenses for Misuse of Prescription Medicine


Individuals who take these prescription medicines may also be found guilty in the eyes of California Health and Safety Code 11733. Not everyone accused however is guilty of prescription medicine fraud. Some prescriptions are genuinely prescribed for patients suffering from chronic pain. The best defense for this crime is the “Good Faith Defense”, which essentially immunizes doctors who have diagnosed a patient’s condition through examination, and have written a prescription to this patient for medical treatment, regardless of whether:


  • There was an improper diagnosis
  • The medical practitioner was reckless in analyzing a condition
  • The medical practitioner uses unorthodox treatment options


There’s also a challenging yet effective defense for police entrapment, where a police can hide under the false pretense of a patient. It should also be noted that this crime is barred from alternative sentencing for drug education programs under California Penal Code 1000.


A conviction relating to Misuse of Prescription Medicine charges for California Health and Safety Code Section 11533 can impact your life for many years to come, but you do have options. We recommend those facing HS 11533 charges to speak with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. To take advantage of our free consultation call (888) 250-2865.


Facing a meth charge as well? Get help for HS 11378 here.

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