Criminal Law

2320. Forged Prescription for Narcotic

The defendant is charged [in Count ______] with ((forging/altering) a prescription/giving someone (a forged/an altered) prescription/ using [or attempting to use] (a forged/an altered) prescription) for a narcotic drug.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

<Alternative 1A—forged or altered>

[1. The defendant (forged/altered) a prescription;]

<Alternative 1B—issued>

[1. The defendant gave someone (a prescription with a forged or fictitious signature/an altered prescription);]

<Alternative 1C—used or attempted to use>

[1. The defendant used [or attempted to use] (a prescription with a forged or fictitious signature) to obtain drugs;]


2. The prescription was for a narcotic drug(;/.)

<Give element 3 when giving alternative 1B or 1C.>


3. The defendant knew that the (signature on the prescription was forged or fictitious/prescription was altered).] <insert name or description of narcotic from Health & Saf. Code, § 11019> is a narcotic drug.

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the crime.

Use this instruction when the prosecution alleges that the defendant forged, issued, or attempted to use a forged prescription without actually obtaining the narcotic. When the prosecution alleges that the defendant obtained or possessed the narcotic by using a forged prescription, use CALCRIM No. 2321, Forged Prescription for Narcotic: With Possession of Drug.

Give element 3 when the prosecution alleges that the defendant issued, used, or attempted to use an altered or forged prescription. Do not give element 3 when the prosecution alleges that the defendant personally forged or altered the prescription.


Elements. Health & Saf. Code, § 11368; People v. Beesley (1931) 119 Cal.App. 82, 86 [6 P.2d 114] [intent to defraud not an element]; People v. Katz (1962) 207 Cal.App.2d 739, 745 [24 Cal.Rptr. 644].

Narcotic Drug. Health & Saf. Code, § 11019.

Prescription. Health & Saf. Code, §§ 11027, 11164, 11164.5.

Persons Authorized to Write Prescriptions. Health & Saf. Code, § 11150.

Forgery of Prescription by Telephone. People v. Jack (1965) 233 Cal.App.2d 446, 455 [43 Cal.Rptr. 566].

Secondary Sources

2 Witkin & Epstein, California. Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against Public Peace and Welfare, §§ 119-120.

6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 145, Narcotics and Alcohol Offenses, § 145.01[1][a], [2][b], [c] (Matthew Bender).

(New January 2006)