Over the past few years, an increased number of prescription-drug thefts in Colorado Springs and elsewhere across the nation have spurred Senator Michael Bennet and other legislators to push for a bill that enhances the penalties that currently apply to pharmaceutical thieves. The bill, known as the SAFE DOSES Act (Strengthening and Focusing Enforcement to Deter Organized Stealing and Enhanced Safety), would allow judges to sentence those convicted up to three years in prison for stealing pharmaceuticals worth less than $5,000 and up to twenty years for those convicted of stealing pharmaceuticals worth more than $5,000. The current law provides judges with the ability to sentence those who steal a “medical product” worth less than $100 to a maximum of one year in prison and those who steal a product greater than $100 to a maximum of ten years in prison.
Furthermore, the SAFE DOSES Act would allow prosecutors and judges to consider RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) laws when applying the law to pharmaceutical thieves. By introducing RICO laws into the equation, those alleged perpetrators who acted in conjunction with others for purposes (such as redistributing and reselling drugs) and who had done so more than one time would be subject to additional penalties—such as those associated with racketeering or even conspiracy. Thus, not only would the new legislation effectively increase the number of years a pharmaceutical thief spends in prison, the new legislation would also provide judges with additional penalties to levy against the convicted thieves.
Since laws change often—and sometimes quite drastically—anyone finding him or herself facing criminal charges related to prescription drug or pharmaceutical theft should contact a knowledgeable Colorado criminal defense attorney without delay. The consequences of you or anyone else you know waiting to contact a defense attorney or the consequences of simply remaining ignorant of recent legislation could result in severe penalties and additional time in prison. By contacting a criminal defense attorney early on, you provide additional time for him or her to collect all the evidence and the sufficiently advise you with your best course of action.