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DancingMaenid
05-17-2010, 09:49 AM
This question has been bugging me a bit, and I've had trouble finding out about this sort of situation.

Say someone has been legitimately prescribed a controlled medication for health purposes. They have a relative who starts using their medication for recreational purposes.

The relative is caught with some of this medication. Could they reasonably defend themselves by claiming they were carrying it for their relative? Would the authorities be justified in requiring a drug test? If the test came out positive, could the person be charged with possession? Would it make a difference it the patient and the relative share a residence? Or whether the relative was alive or had recently passed away?

Some general guidelines would be helpful, if anyone has an idea of how this could work out. Thanks.

DrZoidberg
05-17-2010, 12:57 PM
This is highly regional and varies a lot. I suggest picking a country.

Wiskel
05-17-2010, 03:31 PM
I think you need to make a distinction between what people "could" do and what might actually work, and also recognise the difference between being charged and being convicted.

The best bet is to break the problem down into smaller parts.

If you're caught with a controlled drug, could the arresting officer want you to be charged?
Absolutely. Might depend on whether they're having a good or bad day. Might depend on how politely you react to them. Might depend on your past criminal record. Might just be how you look. A 70 year old woman is probably less likely to be charged than a 20 year old skinhead.

Are you likely to be charged?
Depends on how good your reason for doing what you were doing is. At some point someone will sit down and look at the evidence and decide if there is a good enough case to actually charge you and take you to court.

Could you offer the defence "I was holding it for a relative who's allowed to have it"
Absolutely. You could offer the defence that you found it and were about to hand it in to the police. you could even claim that aliens gave it to you. You can offer any defence you like.....doesn't mean it will work.
If it makes sense it might work.....for example a middle aged woman walking home with a full prescription in a chemist's bag to the home she shares with her mother will probably not be charged. A 20 year old caught with five loose tablets in his back pocket at a nightclub will have a harder time argueing that they belong to his brother who lives 20 miles away.

Will the defence work?
Depends on whoever decides whether to prosecute or not, and then on the jury if you do go to court. Just ask yourself, if you were making the decision, or on the jury,would you believe the defence enough to either drop the proesction or find them not guilty?...then ask yourself what the character in your story will do and why?

Can a court ask you to take a drug test?
Don't know, sorry. Suspect it differes from place to place.

I think you have artistic licence to create whatever scenario you like here. As long as it makes logical sense then there are enough parts that rely on human decision making that you could have someone charged falsely and end up in court, or have someone get off with it when they're clearly up to no good.

Craig

DancingMaenid
05-19-2010, 03:53 AM
Thanks for the input.

I've been focusing on UK law, but US could work. It's not a major point in the story, but I have a character who was arrested for an unrelated crime and had a controlled substance on him at the time. I've had him say that he was charged and convicted with possession.

blackrose602
05-19-2010, 05:26 AM
I was caught with prescription pain meds. I was 18 or 19, by myself, heading into Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando. It's a pretty major event, lots of rowdy drunk people, one of those things where they tend to arrest first and figure out whether they have prosecutable charges later.

Anyway, they were legitimately my father's meds, and I was legitimately meeting him at the event. This was the mid-90s, well before post-9/11 security measures, and I completely forgot that HHN hired Orlando Police Department officers to do security screening on the way in. Otherwise I would have met Dad outside.

So there I was, a goth teenager with a handful of prescription pain meds in a tube in my pocket. And OPD found them. I was so sure I was going to jail, but I stayed calm and explained the situation. Don't know if it was my demeanor or the fact that I had a reasonable explanation, but the cop let me go when he had every reason not to.

DrZoidberg
05-19-2010, 10:46 AM
In Sweden it is legal to carry meds for somebody else, if they corroborate your story. But the story needs to make sense. You're even allowed to pick them up from the pharmacy. But that requires informing your doctor (ie your name needs to pop up in the computer alongside the sick one's).

But it can be a mess to sort out. The cops can take it and put you in jail while they're trying to find the person. But that said, I don't know anybody who've been taken in for this if they weren't guilty.

Rowan
05-21-2010, 04:11 AM
This question has been bugging me a bit, and I've had trouble finding out about this sort of situation.

Say someone has been legitimately prescribed a controlled medication for health purposes. They have a relative who starts using their medication for recreational purposes.

The relative is caught with some of this medication. "Caught" how and by LE or a school principal or supervisor??? If LE, were they arrested for another crime, like a DUI, and found to be in possession of the meds? Did the LE official who caught them observe any signs that they had ingested this substance? Could they reasonably defend themselves by claiming they were carrying it for their relative? Not likely...a lot depends on the circumstances (see above). Would the authorities be justified in requiring a drug test? Again, this depends on the circumstances. If the test came out positive, could the person be charged with possession? What quantity of meds are we talking and what is the med in question? Who catches them--local PD or a federal agent--and what are the specifics? Would it make a difference it the patient and the relative share a residence? Nope. Kids steal their parent's meds all the time and sell/distribute them at parties. Or whether the relative was alive or had recently passed away? See above.

Some general guidelines would be helpful, if anyone has an idea of how this could work out. Thanks.

If you PM me some more specifics, I can help you out... Cheers! :)

Anon76
05-23-2010, 09:28 AM
In my part of the US, if you are found with meds not in the prescription bottle, it's an immediate strike against you with law enforcement. Yes, I know many people who carry the little pill dividers around, ones that seperate your meds into different days of the week, but those type people wouldn't immediately raise a radar warning.

In my part of the US, even if the meds are in the prescription bottle, the patient information better be about you. If you are Nick, and you are carrying Harry's drugs, you better have a darn good reason and Harry better vouch for you. If the actuality is that you bought them off of Harry, and Harry says, nope, they were stolen...well, you are toast and will be charged accordingly.

And, in my part of the US, if a circumstance arises with the police--say erratic driving--and you are subjected to testing, well, you better have a prescription in your name for that med.

PS. Sorry if my post wording is not up to par with all the "wells" and "Ands", but I've had three days off in the last seven weeks, thus, too tired to care.