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How to Carry Prescription Drugs Legally

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Jun 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

prescription bottles

In New Jersey, the possession of illegal drugs can result in jail time or having to pay large fines, which usually depends on the type of drug found and the amount of drug found in the person's possession. What about drugs that are prescribed to you by a doctor or a dentist? How can you carry prescription drugs legally?
The standard thinking is that because these drugs are prescribed to you, that it is OK to carry them on your person. However, with the heightened abuse of prescription drugs, it is important that prescription medication be carried carefully.
If you are found to have in your possession 4 or fewer dosages of a prescription medication without proof that it is lawfully prescribed to you, you will be charged by police with a disorderly persons offense.  If you have an amount of five or more dosage units of a prescription drug without such proof, you will be charged with a fourth degree indictable crime in and will need prescription drug lawyer in NJ.

Penalties of Distributing Prescription Drugs

Under N.J. statute, a person who possess or has under his control with the intent to distribute a prescription drug could be found guilty of an indictable crime (called a felony in other jurisdictions) and face fines as high as $300,000. There are three degrees of penalties which a person charged with prescription drug possession can be charged with. The first is a second degree crime, in which a person distributes or possesses a prescription drug in an amount of 100 or more dosage units. Under this degree, the maximum fine is $300,000. The second is a third degree crime, in which a person distributes or possesses a prescription drug in the amount of at least five but not more than 100 dosage units. The maximum fine given for this offense is $200,000. The last type is a fourth degree crime, which is charged when a person distributes or possesses a prescription drug in the amount of four or fewer dosage units.

Keep it in the Bottle at All Times

It is against the law in New Jersey to keep prescription drugs out of their original bottle except for when they are in use, meaning the time that the person is actually taking the drug. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-24, a person cannot possess a drug that was prescribed to them unless it is in the original container they received it in. The only time a person may not have the prescription in the original container is if they are carrying not more than a 10 day supply and are able to provide the information of both the physician and pharmacist who provided the individual with the drug.

Getting Your Prescription Drug Charge Dropped

If charged and arrested for possession of prescription drugs, there is an affirmative defense which can be used to drop charges. Consult immediately with a prescription drug lawyer in NJ to learn how you can prove that the drug was prescribed by a licensed physician or other practitioner who is authorized to prescribe medication. However, this result doesn't necessarily end your troubles.
Even if the charges are dropped, the arrest still remains on your criminal record. The only way to remove the infraction from your record is to have it expunged, which requires the assistance of an expungement lawyer. To help protect yourself from the possibility of being charged with possessing your own prescription drugs, it is safer to just keep it in its original container, to avoid having to deal with the hassle of litigation.

Finding a Prescription Drug Lawyer in NJ

If you have been charged with possession of prescription drugs or another drug-related offense, contact our offices today at (732) 709-7757 for a free consultation with our prescription drug lawyers.  We will review your case with you and discuss the possibilities of affirmative defenses and expungement in regards to your situation.

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


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