While some drugs, such as heroin, are illegal to possess and use, there are drugs that a person may have for medical use, provided the individual obtained the drugs through legal means. But just like illegal drugs, some people become addicted to prescribed medication and will try to obtain it through deceptive methods. Because improper use of medication poses a health threat to the user and other people, South Carolina law criminalizes obtaining drugs by fraud.
According to state law, anyone who tries to gain certain types of drugs through deceitful or fraudulent means is guilty of a crime. The law lists various methods that a person may use to try to obtain drugs. Some of these methods involve a person using false information, like a false name, address, or credentials to try to convince an authorized party like a doctor or a pharmacy to provide medication. Fraudulent parties may also forge prescriptions or a record of sale to obtain drugs.
With the various ways state law criminalizes acquiring drugs by fraud, it is possible for someone who never intended to gain drugs falsely to come under suspicion of doing so. State law mandates that people cannot receive a conviction for fraudulently obtaining drugs until the prosecution uses clear and convincing evidence that the person charged would not have obtained the drugs except for fraudulent means.
If convicted of obtaining drugs under false pretenses, a person could face a jail sentence of no longer than two years and a fine that cannot exceed $500. The law defines a first offense as a misdemeanor. Should someone commit this crime a second or a subsequent time, the law will charge that person with a felony, which can result in up to five years of imprisonment and up to $2,000.