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Health & Safety Code 11162.5 HS – Counterfeiting A Prescription Blank


Los Angeles Criminal Defense LawyerUnder California Health and Safety Code 11162.5 HS, it is unlawful to manufacture or possess counterfeit prescription blanks for controlled substances that are subject to regulation under the Controlled Substances Act. This law aims to prevent the distribution of fraudulent prescriptions and the abuse of controlled substances. Anyone who violates this law could face serious legal consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and damage to their reputation. It is essential to comply with the law and ensure the safety and well-being of those who need controlled substances for medical purposes. This criminal section penalizes both the person who creates the counterfeit pad, as well as the person who knowingly possesses that pad.

California Health and Safety Code 11162.5 HS is a law that classifies as a “wobbler” offense, meaning that the prosecution can choose to file it as either a misdemeanor crime or a felony depending on the circumstances. If convicted, the maximum penalty for this offense is three years of imprisonment.

11162.5. (a) Every person who counterfeits a prescription blank purporting to be an official prescription blank prepared and issued pursuant to Section 11161.5, or knowingly possesses more than three counterfeited prescription blanks, shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year.

(b) Every person who knowingly possesses three or fewer counterfeited prescription blanks purporting to be official prescription blanks prepared and issued pursuant to Section 11161.5, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.


Prescription blanks, often referred to as “pads,” are commonly used by doctors to authorize prescriptions for controlled substances. However, with the advancement of technology, electronic prescriptions have become more prevalent.

This particular statute not only criminalizes the act of counterfeiting a prescription blank but also makes it illegal to knowingly possess such counterfeit blanks.

Prescription drug addiction is a major issue, and unfortunately, there are individuals who will go to extreme levels to obtain these drugs. Some create fake prescription pads to manipulate pharmacists into filling their prescriptions for highly regulated and potentially harmful substances.


To be found guilty of counterfeiting a prescription blank under HS 11162.5, the prosecutor needs to prove certain elements. This includes:

  • Showing that the defendant either created a fake prescription blank that looked like it was legitimately issued by a licensed physician.
  • or knowingly had fake prescription blanks in their possession.

Counterfeiting involves making an exact copy of something with the intention to deceive or commit fraud. The severity of the punishment for a conviction will be based on the quantity of counterfeit prescription blanks that the defendant was aware of possessing.


Health and Safety Code 11162.5 refers to “prescription blanks” in its language, and it does not use the term “prescription form.” However, both terms carry the same meaning. These are the materials that medical practitioners utilize when they need to order or authorize a prescription for a controlled substance. In everyday language, we may also refer to prescription blanks or forms as “prescription pads.”


Example 1:In the first scenario, a man who is addicted to Oxycontin decides to find a new way to obtain the drug. He uses his computer to replicate his doctor’s prescription pad and prints multiple copies. He then proceeds to write fake prescriptions using these copies and attempts to fill them at different pharmacies in town. This man could face charges for producing counterfeit prescription blanks under California Health & Safety Code Section 11162.5 HSC.

Example 2: In the second scenario, a man visits his doctor for a physical examination. While the doctor is briefly out of the room, the man notices the prescription pad left unattended. Seizing an opportunity, the man takes a few pages from the pad and conceals them in his pocket. Later on, he writes several prescriptions using these pages and presents them at a local pharmacy as genuine. Although this man would not be held criminally accountable under California Health & Safety Code Section 11162.5 HSC since he did not counterfeit prescription pads, he could face charges for forging a prescription for a narcotic as outlined in California Health & Safety Code Section 11368 HSC.

Example 3: In the second scenario, a man visits his doctor for a physical examination. While the doctor is briefly out of the room, the man notices the prescription pad left unattended. Seizing an opportunity, the man takes a few pages from the pad and conceals them in his pocket. Later on, he writes several prescriptions using these pages and presents them at a local pharmacy as genuine. Although this man would not be held criminally accountable under California Health & Safety Code Section 11162.5 HSC since he did not counterfeit prescription pads, he could face charges for forging a prescription for a narcotic as outlined in California Health & Safety Code Section 11368 HSC.


Under California Health and Safety Code 11162.5 HS, the violation is considered a wobbler offense, as it can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony. HS 11162.5(a) pertains to two specific offenses:

  • Counterfeiting prescription blanks.
  • Knowingly possessing more than three counterfeited prescription blanks.

If charged as a misdemeanor, these offenses are punishable by up to one year in a county jail.

If prosecuted as felonies, the penalties include imprisonment in a county jail for a period ranging from 16 months to three years.

HS 11162.5(b) addresses the specific crime of knowingly possessing three or fewer counterfeit prescription blanks. This offense is classified as a misdemeanor with potential penalties of up to six months in a county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.



Another crime that is closely linked to HS 11162.5, which involves counterfeiting prescription blanks, is California Health & Safety Code 11368 HS, which pertains to forging prescriptions for narcotic drugs like codeine.

To illustrate, the same man who tried to counterfeit prescription pads in the previous example makes an appointment with his doctor under the pretext of a regular check-up. During the physical examination, he manages to distract the doctor and steals a few pages from the prescription pad lying nearby.

Later on, he uses the stolen pages to write himself a fake prescription, forges the doctor’s signature and presents it at his local pharmacy to obtain the drug. This action would be considered as forging a prescription for a narcotic drug, contrary to California Health & Safety Code 11368 HS.


If you are under investigation or arrested, and charged with the violation of California Health and Safety Code 11162.5 for counterfeiting a prescription blank, there are three effective defenses that can be presented to prosecutors, judges, and juries:

  • Lack of intent to deceive or defraud: One successful defense strategy is to argue that there was no intention to deceive or defraud. This defense relies on the fact that the prosecutor cannot definitively prove the defendant’s state of mind. It can be argued that the counterfeiting of the prescription blank was done for reasons unrelated to illegal activities, such as for artistic purposes or as a mere experiment. Without sufficient evidence to refute this argument, this defense can be highly effective.
  • Lack of knowing possession: Another defense is to contest that the defendant was unaware of the presence or possession of the counterfeited prescription blank. If it can be reasonably established that someone else may have planted the blank without the defendant’s knowledge, or left it in their residence without their awareness, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly possessed the blank to secure a conviction.
  • Entrapment by law enforcement: In situations where undercover officers pressured or coerced the defendant into violating HS 11162.5, the defense of entrapment can be used. It can be argued that the defendant would not have engaged in the illegal act had it not been for the undue pressure or harassment by law enforcement. Evidence such as recorded conversations with hidden audio bugs can be utilized to demonstrate the lack of predisposition on the part of the defendant to commit the offense.

In some cases, it may be possible to prevent criminal charges from being filed through a “prefile intervention.” By promptly seeking legal assistance after an arrest, a defense attorney can engage with prosecutors and present arguments demonstrating insufficient evidence to support a conviction. If successful, this intervention could lead to the termination of the criminal case before it even proceeds.



Violating California Health and Safety Code 11162.5 HS is not considered a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, nor is it classified as a sex offense under PC 290. However, if convicted, you may face consequences such as the suspension or loss of your professional license. Additionally, if you are not a legal resident, this offense is deportable and may result in deportation in immigration court, as it is considered a crime involving moral turpitude. To fully understand the specific immigration consequences of a charge under Health & Safety Code § 11162.5 HS, it is advisable to seek guidance from an immigration attorney who can provide personalized advice based on the individual’s circumstances and applicable immigration laws. If you do not have or know of an immigration lawyer, the Tabibnia Law Firm can refer you to one.


  • Prescribing a controlled substance without a medical purpose (HS 11153) – “prescription fraud”.
  • Prescribing a controlled substance without treatment (HS 11154(a)) – prescribing drugs to a patient not under your care.
  • Prescribing a controlled substance to an addict (HS 11156) – prescribing, administering, or dispensing drugs to someone suffering from addiction.
  • Doctor shopping (HS 11173) – using fraud or deception to obtain drugs by way of a prescription.
  • Forging a narcotic drug prescription (HS 11368) – forging or altering a prescription, possessing drugs obtained through a forged prescription, or using a forged prescription to obtain drugs.
  • Forging or altering a prescription (BPC 4324) – forging or altering a prescription, signing someone else’s name on a prescription, or possessing drugs obtained with a forged prescription.
  • Forgery (PC 470).


Producing or possessing counterfeit prescription blanks is a serious criminal offense that can result in felony crime charges. If you are currently being investigated for this offense or have already been criminally charged, consult with a skilled and experienced Los Angeles drug crime lawyer without delay. Cyrus Tabibnia, a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney with over 18 years of experience, specializes in defending individuals facing charges related to counterfeit prescription blanks.

With his comprehensive knowledge and expertise, Mr. Tabibnia is proficient in handling cases of this nature. By retaining his services early in the process, he can proactively intervene before formal charges are filed, potentially leading to the rejection or reduction of charges. Highly regarded within the court system, Cyrus is recognized as a dedicated litigator who tenaciously advocates for his clients facing offenses like this.

To get more information about counterfeit prescription blanks or to schedule a free consultation, reach out to Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Cyrus Tabibnia at Tabibnia Law Firm by calling 866-713-2159.

Tabibnia Law Firm is serving its clients throughout Southern California including Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Orange County, Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, Ventura county, Riverside County, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach, Palmdale, Santa Clarita, Monterey Park, La Puente, Van Nuys, Pomona, Manhattan Beach, West Covina, Whittier, Downey, Woodland Hills, Norwalk, Torrance, Redondo Beach, San Bernardino, Walnut Creek, Inglewood, Lancaster, Westlake Village and nearby areas.


Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

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