Law Enforcement Officers, without proper knowledge of the Florida Statutes, may arrest individuals if they do not possess a valid prescription with them or store the pills properly in a prescription bottle. Florida Statutes Section 893.13(6) provides the nature of the criminal charge and the penalties, classifying prescription medications as controlled substances. Florida has a comprehensive electronic database system that pharmacists and health care providers maintain with prescription and patient’s information. The penalties for prescription drugs can vary depending on what Schedule they belong to.
It is perfectly legal in the State of Florida to store prescription pills outside of the prescription bottle, and there is a requirement to always carry a valid proof of prescription. F.S.S. 893.13(6) explicitly states that it is legal to possess a controlled substance with a valid prescription from a health care practitioner. In addition, an individual may face trouble when the medication does not belong to him or her, but is picking up the medication for a friend or family member. Florida Statutes Section 499.03(1) states that it is legal for pharmacies to dispense medication to a consumer or his or her agent. If the agent has an implied to consent to be in possession of the medication, then it is perfectly legal to possess the medication on someone else’s behalf. Florida does not require any express authority from the patient to an agent.
Some prescription drugs on Schedule V of the Florida Statutes Chapter 893 qualify for a misdemeanor offense. While some controlled substances over a certain weight or amount can carry heavier penalties, such as possession of oxycodone (7 or more pills) can carry a 3 year minimum mandatory prison sentence and a $50,000 fine. While other prescription medications will fall into a third degree felony category under F.S.S. 893.13(6).
It is important to make a determination of what circumstances surrounded the search and seizure of the prescription medications by the police. Some of the defenses could be having a valid prescription, no knowledge of the medication being present, unlawful search and seizure, entrapment by the Law Enforcement Officers, and an illegal traffic stop. Whatever the circumstances are, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights. Contact Stewart Law Firm at 850-689-4529 today for your free consultation.