‘Drugs Not in Original Container’ law in Georgia
Let’s face it – for many of us who have to take prescription medication on a daily basis, a seven-day pill organizer is an absolute lifesaver. But while this is a helpful measure to take at home, it’s a risky choice to make while traveling. Under Georgia law, it is illegal to keep your prescription drugs outside of their original container in GA. If you are pulled over, and the police find your prescription medication outside of the bottle it was originally issued in, you will face criminal charges and need the help of a Criminal Defense Attorney. Contact an attorney if you are facing a Drugs Not in Original Container charge and see how our experienced criminal defense lawyers can help you.
What are the Penalties for Drugs Not in Original Container?
Keeping your prescription medication outside of its original container is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00. Even if these penalties do not seem serious at first glance, they could have a big impact on your life. This is why you need to keep your prescription drugs in their original container if you intend to travel anywhere. It could mean the difference between freedom and a criminal charge on your record.
If you are stopped by the police, and they find your medication in a pillbox, a bag, or anywhere besides its original container, it helps to have a copy of your original medical prescription in your wallet or in a secure place in your vehicle. This can help law enforcement avoid making any wrong assumptions and keep you out of further legal trouble.
What if I’m Caught with Someone Else’s Prescription?
It is a crime for you to possess someone else’s prescription in an open container, even if these drugs belong to a loved one or relative. Most prescription drugs are considered controlled substances, and possession of any controlled substance is a serious charge in Georgia. In many cases, being caught with prescription medication that isn’t yours can lead to you facing felony charges for drug possession, in addition to a Drugs Not in Original Container charge.
The severity of these charges will depend on what kind of prescription drug it is and thus, what drug schedule it fits into. Being caught with an opioid medication that was not prescribed to you, such as fentanyl or oxycodone, can lead to up to 30 years in prison. If you are caught with un-prescribed medication considered to have less potential for abuse, such as Xanax, Ambien, or Valium, you could still end up facing up to 5 years in prison.
There are plenty of reasonable explanations for why someone else’s prescription might be in your car. You might be holding onto that medication for a loved one who needs help remembering to take their pills, you might share your vehicle with the person that medication belongs to, or your loved one might have accidentally left their medication in your car. Unfortunately, law enforcement tends to assume that anyone caught with prescription medication that is not theirs intends to sell or abuse it. This is why you will need an experienced defense attorney who can help you fight any criminal charges that might arise.
Don’t Take Prescription Drug Charges Lightly
Keeping your prescription medication outside of its original container might seem harmless, but it is still illegal under Georgia law. If you are caught with your prescription drugs outside of their original container, you could face up to 12 months in jail, a hefty fine, and a misdemeanor charge on your record. If that prescription medication is not yours, you could face felony charges of up to 30 years in prison, depending on what the medication in question is.
These are not charges you want to face alone. If you are facing any kind of prescription drug charge, you want an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Criminal lawyers have years of experience facing these charges and can help you get the outcome you deserve. Contact a law office today and find out how they can help you with your case.