When can you be convicted of possessing medication that has been lawfully prescribed?

We see far too many cases of people who get arrested for possessing substances that you wouldn't generally think are illegal.

If you're traveling with any kind of medication, whether it be your own or someone else's, you need to make sure that it's in the prescription bottle that it came in and that it's in your name. For example, say you take several medications and you decide to combine them all into one pill bottle, so you have a medication that you've got a prescription for, and you've got several that you don't, or that are in the wrong prescription bottle. In that situation you can get charged with the offense of possession of a dangerous drug or possession of a controlled substance, because you don't have it in the prescription bottle that it came in.

The more common situation we see is that somebody has a medication  that wasn't prescribed for them. For example, your spouse takes some kind of sleeping medication such as Ambien, they give a pill to you to help you sleep and you get stopped. The next  thing you know, they're getting a call to come bail them out of jail.

You may think that's extreme, but happens far more often than you might think. We've seeen several cases  that on their face appear to be completely ridiculous, where someone got arrested for having one pill for something minor that technically it is an offense. So avoid the problem, don't travel with any kind of pills or any kind of medication that aren't your own and if you do have medication, make sure it's in the prescription bottle that it came in. You don't want to find this out the hard way by getting arrested, having to post bond, and hire a lawyer who then will have to go try to convince the district attorney to drop the charge or file a reduced charge. 

This is one of those situations where its extremely important to hire a lawyer and to do so immediately. A lawyer can bring all the facts to the prosecutor before they make the decison on how to proceed and try to avoid having case file at all, or at least trying to get a reduced charge. 

If you are in this situation, or have questions about this, please contact us.

Walter Reaves
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Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 35 years.