Interviewer: What about legal or prescription drug cases? How are they handled?
Lauren Scardella: They’re handled in exactly the same way as cases involving illicit drugs. There is a provision in the drug statutes that says that a person can carry a certain amount of a prescription drug outside of the prescription bottle as long as it’s prescribed to them. If they can show that it’s prescribed to them then they can have it, it’s not a criminal offense. My best advice would be that if you have a prescription drug that is prescribed to you and is something that would be considered a controlled dangerous substance, whether it’s Adderall or Vicodin or Oxycodone or something along those lines, keep it in the prescription bottle it came in. Better yet, don’t carry it all unless you absolutely need to.
There is a Big Problem with Prescription Drug Abuse and it is Treated the Same as an Illegal Substance
If you keep it outside of the prescription bottle, the officer has no way of knowing that it belongs to you and will likely charge you with possession of CDS. When you go to court, you may be able to produce prescription records that show that it really did belong to you and it could end up being dismissed but that’s a lot of pain and headache to go through when you could just carry it around in the prescription bottle that it came in. Other than that, they’re prosecuted in exactly the same way. People may get prescription drugs from family members, out of their medicine cabinets. Sometimes people give away old prescription medication or sometimes they sell it. There is a big problem with prescription drug abuse and it is treated just the same as if it was an illegal substance.
Being In Possession of Prescription Drugs That Haven’t Been Prescribed to You May Get You Arrested on Drug Charges
Interviewer: If someone were to have their mother’s or grandmother’s medicine with them maybe in their car or in their pocket, could they be facing some problems?
Lauren Scardella: It really depends on the kind of prescription medication they’re holding. It has to be one of the controlled dangerous substances enumerated in the drug statutes. Carrying around your grandma’s antibiotic or nitroglycerin tablets is not likely to cause a problem.
Common Client Mistakes Upon Getting Arrested on a Drug Charge
Interviewer: What are some of the mistakes that people make upon getting arrested?
Lauren Scardella: As with any other arrest, making admissions to the police is always a big mistake. You have a right to remain silent, and you should exercise it. Don’t say, “Yes, it was mine,” or, “It was just a little bit.” Anything that you say regarding your arrest or the circumstances around your arrest can be used against you, that’s what that Miranda warning means. Even if they don’t give you the warnings, every person in this country can recite the Miranda warnings backwards and forwards because we all watch a lot of TV and have seen movies. You have those rights, even if the cop hasn’t specifically told you that you have them. So the best advice is to keep your mouth shut.