Prescription drugs, especially those in pill form, are typically dispensed by a pharmacy in a plastic medicine bottle. These containers usually have child-proof caps, and the outside of the bottle will have a label providing information about the prescription.
There are many reasons that you might want to remove pills from the pharmacy-provided bottle. Perhaps you keep your medication in a daily dose organizer, or perhaps you want to only carry a specific number with you while keeping the rest safe at home in their original bottle. Whatever the reason may be, you might be wondering: is it legal to carry prescription medication without the bottle?
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Many prescription medications are classified as controlled substances under Virginia law. Possession of a controlled substance is illegal unless a person has a valid prescription for the drug. As a result, people who take controlled substances prescribed to them may wonder if it is illegal to take their medication out of the bottle from the pharmacy, which will have the basic prescription information on the label.
Virginia has no statute that expressly makes it illegal to transport medication in a different container than the one provided by the pharmacy. However, you could be arrested if you are found in possession of a controlled substance if you don’t have proof that you have a valid prescription for the medication you’re carrying.
The penalties for knowingly or intentionally possessing a prescription drug without a prescription can range, depending on the type of controlled substance it falls under. A violation of Virginia’s controlled substances statute (Virginia Statutes section 18.2-250) could range from a Class 4 misdemeanor to a Class 5 felony.
If you are arrested for unlawful possession of a prescription drug, it is crucial to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. If you have a valid prescription, the medical record ordering the prescription or the original bottle could prove that you were in lawful possession of the medication.
If you do not have a valid prescription, your lawyer will discuss the specifics of your case and will work to build a strong defense on your behalf. Remember that an arrest does not automatically mean that you will be convicted. Regardless of the situation, the burden is on the prosecution to prove that you did not legally possess the medication.
For many people, prescription medication is often something that was initially prescribed to treat an injury or illness but has become an uncontrollable addiction. With the right attorney fighting for you, it might be possible to put the circumstances in perspective, opening the door to a more favorable outcome for your case.
Along with unlawful possession, other prescription drug charges that individuals may face in Virginia include:
- Unlawful distribution of prescription medication
- Prescription fraud
- Illegal purchase of prescription drugs online
- Prescription theft or forgery
- Possession or sale of counterfeit prescription medication
No matter what charges you are facing, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be a vital ally in your fight to get the charges reduced or dropped.
Contact a Virginia Prescription Drug Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with unlawful possession of a prescription drug, contact an experienced Virginia drug crime defense attorney about your legal rights and options. We have more than four decades of experience helping those accused of crimes in Fairfax County and across the region, and we’ll be ready to put our knowledge and skills to work for you.
Contact Whitestone Young, PC online or call us at (703) 591-0200 for a 100% confidential consultation.