Smart & Aggressive
attorneys defending you.
click for a free consultation

Is it Illegal to Sell Fake Drugs?

Posted on August 4, 2021 in drugs

There are state and federal laws that ban the selling of narcotics, including fake drugs and synthetic drugs. Although you may think that it is innocent enough to sell something that is not an illegal drug, selling fake drugs on the premise that they are illegal drugs is a crime in itself. Learn more about the laws relating to fake drug sales, the possible penalties in Arizona and when to seek assistance from a criminal defense lawyer.

Possible Penalties for Selling Fake Drugs in Arizona

In Arizona, selling fake drugs is illegal. If you are caught by law enforcement while selling or attempting to sell any substance under the pretense that it is an illicit drug, you could face charges for fraud, criminal fraud, counterfeit pharmaceuticals and even attempted drug sales, depending on the situation. If you are selling synthetic drugs, such as spice or bath salts, you could also face charges under Arizona law. The state classifies synthetic drugs as illicit substances that are just as dangerous as the real thing.

According to Arizona Penal Code Chapter 13-3452, it is against the law to manufacture, possess, possess with intent to distribute or to distribute any type of imitation drug. This includes imitation prescription drugs, imitation over-the-counter medications and imitation controlled substances. State law classifies this crime as a class 6 felony, or a class 5 felony when sold to a minor. The penalties for conviction can include fines and jail time.

Even if you did not sell a fake drug, if you are caught in possession of a fake, imitation or synthetic substance with the intent to sell, it is a class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona. Although this crime is not as serious as a felony, it can still lead to a criminal record that increases the penalties for a second or subsequent conviction.

Federal Drug-Selling Laws

Taking money from someone under false pretenses – either intentionally or materially – is fraud under federal law. If you lie and sell fake drugs to someone under the pretense that they are real, you could face fraud charges. The most common scenario for getting caught selling fake drugs is selling them to an undercover police officer. The penalties for fraud can be severe; a criminal fraud conviction, for example, can come with years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

In addition, 21 USC Section 331 makes it illegal to sell counterfeit drugs in interstate commerce (across state lines). This includes all online sales. Each individual sale of a counterfeit prescription or nonprescription drug will be charged as a separate violation. This can result in hefty sentences, including decades behind bars for offenders who make several sales for counterfeit drugs.

When to Consult With a Criminal Defense Attorney

Just because the substance you are selling is not an actual drug does not mean that selling it is legal and that you cannot face criminal consequences. Selling fake drugs in Arizona can result in both state and federal charges against you. If you have been arrested or suspect that you will soon be arrested on charges of selling or possessing counterfeit, imitation, synthetic or fake drugs in Arizona, contact a drug crimes defense attorney at AZ Defenders right away. We can help you protect your rights and create a defense strategy that could result in a lighter sentence or dismissed charges.

Common defenses available for someone charged with selling fake drugs in Arizona include lack of intent to commit a crime, lack of intent to mislead someone or misrepresent facts, lack of knowledge that you are dealing a fake substance, wrong defendant, illegal search and seizure, and insufficient evidence. Our attorneys can carefully analyze your case to determine the best possible defense strategy for you. Then, we can represent you during a criminal trial if you are facing state or federal drug crime charges.

For more information from a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix about the crime of selling fake drugs – or other drug-related crimes – contact us today.