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New York Penal Law § 178.25: Criminal diversion of prescription medication and prescriptions in the first degree

Criminal diversion is defined as transferring a prescription medication or device for money or other benefit knowing that the recipient has no medical need for it, or receiving a prescription medication or device knowing that the seller does not have the legal authority to sell the prescription medication or device. There are 4 offenses in the New York criminal code related to criminal diversion, including criminal diversion of prescription medication and prescriptions in the first, second, third and fourth degrees. The specific criminal diversion charge that you will face depends on the amount of money or the value of the benefit that was exchanged for the prescription drugs or device. Criminal diversion of prescription medication and prescriptions in the first degree is the most serious criminal diversion crime. Under New York Penal Law § 178.25, you could be prosecuted for criminal diversion of prescription medication and prescriptions in the first degree if you commit an act of criminal diversion and the value of the medication or devices involved exceeds $50,000.

Example

Thomas Finch was a pharmacist who sold prescriptions from his retail drug store. He also regularly sold prescription medications to people who he knew did not have valid prescriptions. If value the medication that he sold to people who did not have lawful prescriptions exceeded $50,000, then Finch could be prosecuted for criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions in the first degree.

Related Offenses
  1. Criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions in the fourth degree: New York Penal Law § 178.10
  2. Criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions in the third degree: New York Penal Law § 178.15
  3. Criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 178.20
Defenses

There are three statutory defenses to a charge of criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions:

  1. You are a licensed physician who dispensed the prescription medication or devices in good faith in the lawful course of your profession.
  2. You are a licensed pharmacist who dispensed the prescription medication or devices in good faith in the lawful course of your profession.
  3. You sought treatment for a medical condition or you are assisting someone in need of medical treatment.

In addition, to convict you of criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions in the third degree, the prosecutor must prove that the value of the medications is over $50,000. If there is evidence that the value was less than $50,000, then you may be able to successfully challenge the charge. However, you may still face a charge of criminal diversion of prescription medications in the second, third or fourth degrees.

Sentence

Criminal diversion of prescription and prescriptions in the first degree is a class C felony. If you are convicted your sentence may include up to 15 years in prison, a probation term of 5 years, and a substantial fine.

New York Penal Law § 178.25: Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medications and Prescriptions in the First Degree

A person is guilty of criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions in the first degree when he or she commits a criminal diversion act, and the value of the benefit exchanged is in excess of fifty thousand dollars.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are under investigation for criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions in the first degree you face a sentence that could include over a decade in prison. It is critical that you are represented by someone with experience. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with crimes related to criminal diversion as well as grand larceny, embezzlement, and white collar crimes. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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