Is it illegal to have someone else’s prescription?

Caught holding someone else’s prescription drugs?

It may not be illegal at all to possess someone else’s prescription. It all depends on the facts and circumstances. Facts and circumstances are shaped in the courtroom by an experienced drug defense attorney. We at The McShane Firm fight the government and their false narrative of automatically guilty for almost 20 years.

Under § 780-113(a)(37) of Pennsylvania’s health and safety law, it is illegal for any person other than the prescription holder to possess more than 30 doses of another’s prescription.

Someone else’s prescription is simply that. It’s not yours. There are lots of innocent reasons for someone to possess another person’s drugs.

It is not automatically illegal to carry someone else’s prescription drugs

So what then, does it mean to possess?

Possession, defined by the law, breaks down into two types:

  1. Actual possession. For example, physically having something in your hand, holding it.
  2. Constructive possession. When it isn’t on you or you are not physically holding it. Constructive possession requires the government to prove three parts beyond a reasonable doubt:

A. you are aware of the nature of the object, and

B. you have the intent to control the object, and

C. you have the power to control the object

Can I carry medicine for someone else?

The answer is most likely yes. Under ordinary circumstances, so long as you do not have the intent to control this medicine, you are most likely not violating the law. So, if you are taking your significant other’s prescription to their workplace because they forgot it at home, you are likely in the clear. This is because you did not intend to control the medicine for your own use.

The problem with this is that it is difficult to prove your intent. The police will assume guilt. The law says otherwise. Jurors are required to presume you innocent.

Your choice of lawyer is totally within your control. The outcome of your case is based on facts and is all about how it is framed before a court. 

In conclusion

Is it illegal to have someone else’s prescription? Probably not. It depends on the facts of the case. If you intended to control it and the government can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did, then yes, it is. Otherwise, it’s a not guilty.

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PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.