Doctor Shopping

 

Withholding Information from a Practitioner

Pursuant to Florida Statute 893.13(7)(a)(8), a person may not engage in doctor shopping. If you have been accused of Dr. Shopping and need legal council, contact the Law Firm of Bottari and Doyle in Palm Beach County for legal representation at 561-588-2781.

Definition of Doctor Shopping

The law states that a person may not, “Withhold information from a practitioner from whom the person seeks to obtain a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance that the person making the request has received a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance of like therapeutic use from another practitioner within the previous 30 days.” 

What is meant by “withholding” information? 

In Knipp v. State, 67 So.2d 376, the court stated, “the statute unambiguously makes it a crime for a person seeking a prescription for a controlled substance not to inform the physician that he or she has already obtained a prescription for the same or similar substance within the last 30 days.” This means that the person has to volunteer the information to the doctor. 

What is meant by “making the request”?

In Knipp v. State, 67. So.2d 376, the court stated, “Whether an individual has actually withheld information in violation of the statute depends on whether she or he requested a controlled substance and failed to disclose the fact that she or he received a drug of like therapeutic use within the previous thirty days. In other words, the statute requires that an individual affirmatively requesting a substance provide information to the practitioner.” Both the statutory language and this case suggest that to convict a person of doctor shopping the state must prove that the person “made a request” by asking the doctor for the drugs. 

Right to Privacy

In the case State v. Sun, 82 So.3d 866, the appellate court provided an excellent analysis of a person’s right to privacy with respect to medical records. The court stated, “Article 1, Section 23 of the Florida Constitution states in part, “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life. This right to privacy is fundamental, but not absolute. Thus, the right will yield to a compelling state interest, a requirement that is, satisfied by an ongoing criminal investigation when there is a clear connection between illegal activity and the person whose privacy has allegedly been invaded. The state constitutional right to privacy protects medical records.” 

As stated above, medical records are private. Therefore, the government must follow the proper procedure to obtain a person’s medical records. Florida Statute 395.3025(4)(d), states, “Patient records are confidential and must not be disclosed without the consent of the patient or his or her legal representative, but appropriate disclosure may be made without such consent to: In any civil or criminal action, unless otherwise prohibited by law, upon the issuance of a subpoena from a court of competent jurisdiction and proper notice by the party seeking such records to the patient or his or her legal representative.” 

If the government does not provide notice before issuing a subpoena, the medical records may be suppressed. Suppression is a remedy that will prevent the State from using your medical records against you in court. This may ultimately result in a dismissal of the charges, because the State may need the records to prove their case. 

Penalties for Doctor Shopping

A person who engages in doctor shopping commits a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years of probation, five years in prison as a condition of probation, and a $5,000 fine. 

Contact Us

If you have been arrested or charged with Withholding Information from a Practitioner (Doctor Shopping) in Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County or Dade County, contact a
Palm Beach criminal defense attorney from Bottari & Doyle at (561)-588-2781 for a free consultation.