Can I Go to Jail for Selling Fake Drugs?
From time to time, we hear a story about someone purchasing baking powder that the seller claimed to be cocaine or aspirin the seller passed off as OxyContin. In these situations, can the person who sold the “drugs” be sent to jail — even if the substances themselves were not real drugs?
The short answer is yes. State and federal laws make selling fake drugs illegal, and in some circumstances you can be charged with an attempted drug sale.
In other cases, you might be charged with fraud, which is the taking of money from another person under purposefully false pretenses. An individual intentionally makes a fraudulent statement when knowing it is not true. Therefore, saying a baggie contains cocaine when it is really baking powder is an example of fraud. The buyer would not have paid you had he or she known the true contents of the bag.
Potential penalties for selling fake drugs
The penalties you face for selling fake drugs depends on the route prosecutors take. Below are some examples:
- A person convicted of criminal fraud faces up to five years in prison.
- A person convicted of selling a counterfeit drug involving interstate commerce with no intention to defraud or mislead a person faces up to a year in prison, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
- A person convicted of selling a counterfeit drug involving interstate commerce with an intent to mislead or defraud another person faces up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
In addition, every individual sale of a fake drug can be treated as a separate violation punishable by the maximum sentence.
For more information on the penalties you could face for the sale of counterfeit drugs, consult trusted Reading criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.