Prescription medications are heavily regulated legally in the United States. As a result, if the police find that you have someone else's prescription medication, or you have a prescription medication that you don't have a prescription for, you may face charges for illegal possession of a prescription medication. Depending on the type of medication, you may actually face more serious charges, such as possession of a dangerous drug like Oxycontin or Vicodin. Here's what you need to know if you're facing charges like these.
What The Prosecution Must Prove
In order to convict you of charges related to illegal prescription possession, the prosecution must prove that you knew that you had the medication, that you knew the medication was regulated by prescription, and that you did not have a prescription for that medication. While this can seem as though it would be easy to do, there are some ways that a criminal law attorney may be able to help you beat the charges.
How Your Defense Attorney Can Help
There are many different methods for defending yourself against this type of charge. First, consider where the medication was found. If it was in your vehicle, was it in the center console, the trunk, the glove box, the driver's door, or the passenger's door? The specific location can play a role, because if it was on the passenger side, your attorney may claim that it was left behind by the prescription owner. This is most effective if the owner of the prescription can testify to that fact.
However, even if the prescription owner cannot testify that they left it in your car, or even in your home, it is still up to the prosecution to prove that nobody else could have possibly put it there but you. That can be extremely difficult to prove, especially if the medication was found somewhere that anyone could have access to.
If the medication was found somewhere that only you would typically access, such as your bedroom, your defense attorney could show evidence that the prescription owner has been in your home, casting reasonable suspicion that they may have simply forgotten it there previously.
Finally, if none of these defenses are relevant, your attorney can also attempt to discredit the arrest itself. The prosecution must prove that the medication was tested and proven to be a prescription drug, and must show the chain of custody and have used a reputable lab that cannot be discredited through previous errors.
If the medication was found as a result of an illegal search, such as a search of your car or person without probable cause, your attorney can have the evidence disqualified as the product of that illegal search. Any search without your consent or a search warrant can be considered an illegal search provided that there was no probable cause for the officer to conduct it, such as illegal materials in plain view.