Mostly likely the person would be charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Unless they were a pharmacist, they would not be allowed to have drugs that did not belong to them under a prescription. The person would need to have a very good reason to have someone else’s pills and bottle in their possession.
This would sometimes depend on the age of the person, because the police and the government are much more receptive to an adult having an excuse that it was their wife’s or their child’s, as opposed to a high school or a college kid. The law certainly says they cannot have it, and in addition to the medication, the person would get accused of a DWI, and they would get accused of possessing drugs that did not belong to them.
Could Someone Be Charged If It Was A Spouse’s Prescription But Their Name Was Not On The Car?
Potentially, yes. We have had situations involving taxi cabs where somebody had left their medication in the taxi cab. We get more involved with the intent to possess, not just the possession—that someone knowingly possessed somebody else’s drugs for really the wrong reason.
The person may get charged with it if they possessed their husband’s or a friend’s medication in the car, but those charges would be easily taken care of by that person coming forward and admitting it was their drugs, and they accidentally left them in the other person’s car, but they did not give the drugs to that person because that would be illegal. A person would not be able to give anyone their drugs but they could accidentally leave their drugs or their medication in someone’s car.
By statute, if someone had a prescription for a migraine headache, for example, it would be illegal for them to give their friend one of their pills. Under New York state law, this would count as sale of drugs even if the person did not actually get money. Like everything else in real life, we cannot be perfect and we are not perfect, but as long as the person could explain why they have the medications, and it was a reasonable explanation, and we were able to actually show what it was, then the charge would go away. The police would just take the drugs and hold onto them.
It would probably be okay if it belonged to the person’s husband, but the question would be what the medication was, whether the person was walking around with 200 Alprazolam or 200 Ambien, what the person was doing with that as opposed to 1 or it being the other person’s pill bottle. Middle aged people tend to have more Xanax or Alprazolam or Valium or Ambien than a college kid, so they may get the benefit of the doubt more often than a college kid.
For more information on Getting Caught With Someone Else’s Meds, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (516) 679-0400 today.