I am worried about getting caught doctor shopping. WIll they come after me if I have only done it for a very short time? If so, now what?

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I am worried about getting caught doctor shopping. WIll they come after me if I have only done it for a very short time? If so, now what?

I am in Hawaii, have had several back operations and suffer from chronic pain. Whe my own doctor would not help me I took it into my own hands. Saw 4 docs over one month period to get scripts for pain meds. I have since felt better and stopped. But now I am very worried for that knock on the door too take me to jail. My question is..is that enough for them to really come after me? Also mif they do, where would they do it? At home, at work? Or just a warrant and nab me i fI ever get pulled over or something? Any advice would be great. Thanks.

Asked on June 24, 2009 under Criminal Law, Hawaii

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Although I do not practice law in the State of Hawaii, the general rule is that once a crime is comitted, the police can investigate and you can potentially be charged with that crime anytime within the applicable statute of limitations.  The statute of limitations is a period of time, set by the statute, that a crime must be prosecuted within from the time it took place.  Although the fact that you only did this for a relatively short period of time decreases the likelihood that you will be investigated/prosecuted, it does not make that possibility impossible. 

To answer your second question, an arrest can occur "on-site" or as a result of a warrant.  Since you have said that you no longer engage in this conduct, it is very unlikely that you would be arrested during the course of one of these illegal transactions.  That makes it more likely that if you are arrested, it will be as a result of a warrant.  In order to arrest someone pursuant to a warrant, the police need probable cause to believe that the suspect committed a crime.  Probable cause could theoretically be generated in this instance solely by contacting witnesses.  However, in most circumstances the police attempt to contact the suspect, and the suspect will often accidentally say or do something incriminating, thereby handing their requisite probable cause.  However, you should remember that you have a Fifth amendment right to remain silent, and that right cannot be used against you to infer probable cause.

Nevertheless, if you feel that you may have committed a crime I highly recommend that you consult with and/or retain a criminal defense attorney.  It is often possible to retain an attorney for the purposes of an investigation (or potential investigation) at a rate much lower than would be necessary compared to if you are actually charged with a crime.  Although it would certainly remain possible, hiring an attorney on this basis will reduce the likelihood of your being arrested for the aforementioned conduct, thereby making it a very wise investment.


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