California law makes it illegal to possess prescription drugs that do not belong to you. For example, if you take pills out of your parents’ medicine cabinet, you could be charged with a crime if they are found in your car. A possession charge may be forthcoming even if you are not under the influence of the controlled substance or under the influence of any other controlled substances.
Controlled substances have a potential for abuse
The main reason why you can’t possess certain substances without a prescription is their potential to be abused. This is because they often contain codeine, morphine or other ingredients that help you get high. Depending on how much of a given substance you possess, you may be charged with possession with the intent to distribute.
Penalties for a possession conviction
If you are convicted of a drug possession charge, you may face jail time, a fine or other penalties. However, there may be a variety of criminal defense strategies that might allow you to obtain an acquittal or a favorable plea deal in your case. For instance, you may claim that the medication did belong to you or that there was no probable cause to search yourself, your car or other personal property.
Other ways to be charged with possession of prescription medication
You may be charged with a crime if you are in possession of medication that was initially prescribed to you. This may be true if the quantity of pills in your possession exceeds the number that you’re supposed to have. Alternatively, you may face legal jeopardy if your prescription has expired or if you fill a pill bottle with something other than the medication indicated on the label.
If you are charged with a crime, it doesn’t mean you’ll go to jail or face other penalties. Depending on the facts of your case, it may be dismissed for lack of evidence or dismissed upon completion of a drug rehabilitation program.