Prescription drugs are intended to be issued and taken under the authority of an authorized doctor. The drugs cannot be in someone’s possession without a valid prescription that was obtained without the use of fraud or through a pill mill. Also, it is unlawful for anyone in legal possession of prescription drugs to sell them.
This is a drug crime defense that a defendant can use when they are in actual possession of the prescription drug, but did not actually know that their possession was illegal. The defense exists because a person needs to know that they are in possession of the drug illegally.
An example of unwitting possession is when an individual gives the defendant a bag to hold. The defendant does not know the bag contains prescription drugs, and thus does not possess the requisite knowledge. Another example is if the drugs are left in the defendant’s vehicle and later discovered during a traffic stop. The defendant may not be found guilty because they were completely unaware of the presence of the prescription drugs.
Lack of possession means the defendant did not have constructive control over the prescription drug. The foundation of any prescription drug charge is actual physical possession. For instance, assume that the defendant shared possession or occupation of an area with a group of other people, such as a vehicle or house. It would be hard for the prosecution to show the prescription drugs were actually in the exclusive possession of the defendant. Anyone in possession of or occupying the shared area could have possessed the drugs.
The Fourth Amendment forbids the police from searching anyone’s home without a warrant. It also forbids police from searching a vehicle without probable cause. If a police officer conducts a search without a warrant or probable cause, a defense attorney could use the fact to get the evidence or prescription drugs suppressed.
Yes, a criminal defense attorney will be able to help you determine which defense to use. The attorney will also be able to fight the charges and possibly get them dismissed or reduced.
Last Modified: 08-01-2016 09:51 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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