My Lupus Medication landed me in JAIL!!!
Hi, my name is Jennifer, I am 26 year old and was diagnosed with SLE over 10 years ago. I have been on several medications through out the years but the main medications I take are Deltasone and Plaquinel. For those who have had this disease for awhile know these medications well and know that they are used for Lupus. Well this leads to my story about how I got thrown in jail over these medications!!!! My doctor had written me a prescription and left it at the front desk of his office. I was to pick it up from the nurse because he was going to be at a different office that day. Well I went in that day in mid August and picked it up. It was for two medications. Deltasone and Plaquineil. I took these to the pharmacy that I have used for over ten years and started to wait on the prescriptions. I waited about 15 minutes then the pharmacist came and told me there was a problem with the prescription and I needed to call the doctor in the morning. So I left and called the next morning. I went in and he had written another prescription for the same two meds and I got them filled with no problem. I get a call in mid October from the doctor telling me that the Houston Police Dept. called him about a bad prescription and he had it faxed to him and it was the same one he had given me to pick up. The problem was, that there was not a quantity given for the Deltasone so they called the doctors office to get the info and my Dr.'s partner answered the call and told the pharmacy that this prescription could not have come from him that he was not in the office that day. Well with this information Walgreens called the police!!! My doctor told me he had talked to the police and said that it was a mistake. The police told him to call the District Attorney because there was nothing he could do because the state had taken over the case. I did not hear anything else about it until mid November when there was a knock on my door and it was the police. They said I was under arrest and needed to come with them. I am a single mother with no family here so I had a friend come and pick up my four year old son. I went to the station and they told me I was being charged with a Class III Felony. Obtaining prescription by fraud is what they called it!!! I tried to explain myself but no one would listen. They then took me downtown to the county jail. I had no one to post my bail because it was too high and they needed a deed to a house as well as money. This was my first time to EVER be in trouble with the law, with the exception of a speeding ticket when I was 21. I sat in jail for five days before I had court. I was given a court appointed lawyer, and thay told me I could either take 3 years probation deferred judification, or I could take 7 years in the state penetentiary. Of coarse I would have rathered a trial by jury because I know I would have been proven innocent because my doctor told me he would testify that it was his prescription, but this would have taken 2 months to get a trial and I could not leave my son with my friend while I sat in jail for two months. So I took probation. This sucks because until I get off of probation I have a felony on my record. This meant I lost my job, no one will hire me now. I lost my apartment, luckily got a new one. I have to go to all sorts of drug meetings during the week for 3 months and pay fines do community service and see a probation officer each month. How could this sort of thing happen? This is surreal to me!! My doctor tried to explain that these meds are not controlled substances and there was no reason for this. According to state law in Texas. It does not matter if it is controlled or not. If they think it is fraudualant, then it is a felony!!! Does anyone in the Texas justice system have common sense??? Why would I write for meds that I have taken for ten years and I can get anywhere??? Am I the only one that thinks this is crazy???? TEXAS JUSTICE SYSTEM SUCKS!!!!
OMG!!!! Jennifer, my heart goes out to you. Being a retired Probation Officer, I know how something like this can get so turned around. What amazes me is that your public defender did nothing to help you in this case (didn't they assign you a public defender????).
Here is the good thing Jennifer....When you get close to completing your probationary period, if you have no other convictions, no probation violations and have paid all of your fines, you can request that the court reduce your case to a misdemeanor (if, in Texas, the case is a wobbler - by wobbler I mean that it could have been filed as a misdemeanor or a felony). You can also request early termination of probation if you have met all of the above criteria.
Plea Bargains can be blessings or curses. The problem with them is that so many people will plead guilty to get out of custody and to get the matter over with. In the long run, you end up with a record and that follows you for the rest of your life.
This is a good lesson for us to learn as patients. In hind sight, you might have asked him to call your prescription in to your pharmacy!
As an ex law-enforcement person, I insist that my doctor's call my prescriptions in...I refuse to handle them most of the time (except in the cases where the pharmacy is on the same premises as the doctor's office and it is the same day that I've seen the doctor).
Even though most of our drugs are not controlled substances, some of them are strong pain medications and can be misused.
I wish you the best of luck. Life is hard enough for us without something like this! You are in my prayers!!!