There are dozens of laws in Florida and at the federal level that aim to reduce the proliferation of dangerous drugs and deter drug abuse. Unfortunately, the desire to prevent people from illegally using or distributing medication sometimes means that innocent people with no nefarious intentions end up arrested and facing criminal prosecution simply for being caring and compassionate individuals.
Most people understand that Florida can prosecute those who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of mind-altering drugs or alcohol. Even a prescription drug that someone has a recommendation to use can lead to prosecution if someone drives while under the influence of it. What many people do not realize is that they could get arrested for simply having a medication in their vehicle even if they are not under the influence while they drive.
Transporting medication for others can be risky
There are some scenarios in which it is reasonable and legal for one person to transport controlled substances for another. A spouse, parent, other family member or friend could potentially pick up someone’s medication at a pharmacy because the person who needs the medication cannot drive.
They could then transport the sealed medication labeled for someone else’s use and deliver it to that person or their primary caregiver. Should a traffic stop occur, the medication should not trigger too much concern from the police officer, provided that it remains in the sealed packaging provided by the pharmacy.
However, once a patient opens the package, it may no longer be safe or legal for another person to transport those medications. If a police officer finds someone with medication in alternate packaging or in prescription packaging with someone else’s name on it, they are likely to arrest that individual for the unlawful possession of the controlled substance. The more common it is for people to abuse a specific medication, the more likely it is for an officer to assume criminal intention or activity.
It is more common than people realize for one individual to share their medication with someone else or to resell their leftover prescription drugs. Quite a few people will also steal the medication that belongs to someone else with an intent to misuse those substances.
Those who get caught in possession of someone else’s medication, even if they have a very reasonable explanation for the situation, could end up prosecuted for possession. Understanding the strict rules imposed on controlled substances in Florida may help people avoid breaking the law or plan a more effective defense strategy if they get arrested while for doing a favor for a loved one.