In Pennsylvania, do I have to keep all of my prescription drugs in their original containers or have the prescription with me?
As DUID lawyers, we often get “tag along” charges that our clients are charged with when they are accused of DUID. One of those tag along charges is violation of 35 PS 780-113(a)(30)-Possession with the Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance and 35 PS 780-113(a)(16)-Possession of a Controlled Substance.
Here is a scenario that we are starting to see time and again.
- A motorist is prescribed a drug by their doctor.
- The doctor has them on this drug for a period of time with no reported side effects.
- The motorist is pulled over for some reason.
- The officer asks “Are you taking any medications?”
- Thinking that they did nothing wrong and are following doctor’s orders they admit to using some prescribed drug.
- The officer asks them if the motorist has any drugs on them.
- Thinking that they did nothing wrong, they say yes and show the officer. The pill or pills are not in the container that the pharmacist gave the motorist but are instead loose. [People refer to drugs carried outside of their original containers as “loosies”]
- When commanded by the officer, the motorist cannot produce a copy of the prescription because it is not on them.
- An arrest is made for DUID or not, but they are also charged with 35 PS 780-113(a)(30)-Possession with the Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance and 35 PS 780-113(a)(16)-Possession of a Controlled Substance for the “loosie” drug that they had on them.
You cannot count on the police, the prosecutors or even judges to know every single law. Frequently, police officers, and even DAs and Judges believe that one must have a validly dispensed drug in the original container given by the pharmacist and/or have the prescription on him or her. In Pennsylvania, this is not the law. This is why you need an attorney who handles these types of cases every single day.
In Pennsylvania, there is no authority that states it is against the law to carry a validly prescribed and dispensed controlled substance “loose” and without a copy of the prescription or outside of its original container. There is nothing in the United States Code. There is no statute or regulation that requires it either in Pennsylvania.