Possession of medicinal controlled substances (hydrocodone, adderall, xanax, etc.) without a prescription is a crime. So if you have a prescription, you don’t have anything to worry about, right? Not if you’re carrying loose pills.
It appears to be a common practice for people who have prescriptions for medicines that contain controlled substances, to carry a couple of pills with them rather than carrying the entire bottle. That’s perfectly understandable. After all, nobody wants to walk around having to listen to the annoying rattle of a pill bottle in his pocket all day.
Annoying rattle aside, carrying loose pills instead of the entire bottle can land you in jail. If the police find loose pills in your possession, and you cannot prove–on the spot–that you have a prescription, you will be arrested for possession of a controlled substance.
Police officers are not going to let you run to the house to get the bottle to show them. They are also not going to call the pharmacy to verify that you have a valid prescription. The simple fact is that you will go to jail and will have to work the case out in court.
I have represented several clients who have faced this situation. Recently, I was retained by a nice lady who was arrested on multiple counts of possession of a controlled substance. She was from out of state, and was in Jackson for the first time to visit relatives. She had a valid prescription for Adderall. Instead of bringing the entire bottle with her, she took only the amount of pills she would need on the trip. She placed the pills in a small zip-lock bag and put them in her purse.
Being unfamiliar with Jackson, she took a wrong turn and ended up in a neighborhood where she was quite conspicuous. Due to her race, age and sex, she fit the profile of a purchaser of illegal drugs. She was stopped by the police for a trivial traffic violation. The officers requested consent to search her vehicle. Because she had committed no crime, she gave her consent to search (big mistake). The officers found the pills in her purse. Because she could not prove she had a prescription, she was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. She told the officers she had a prescription. However, she had no proof. After being arrested, she sat in jail for three (3) days waiting to have her initial appearance.
After she posted bond and was released, she retained me to defend her against the charges. We were ultimately able to get the charges dismissed and had her record expunged.
Even though this lady had committed no crime, she spent three days in jail. She also incurred legal fees, bond fees and other expenses. This entire ordeal could have been avoided if she had simply kept the pills in the prescription bottle.
If you are prescribed a medicine that contains a controlled substance, carry the entire bottle with you. Never have loose pills in your possession. If for some reason you can’t carry the bottle and must have loose pills, make sure you have your receipt and counseling sheet from the pharmacy where you had the prescription filled. These documents are an alternative way to prove to the police that you have a valid prescription.
Carrying a pill bottle around may be inconvenient, but not nearly as inconvenient as going to jail when you have committed no crime. If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Mississippi, please contact me.