Is Your Seven-Day Pill Box Illegal?
Prescription drug abuse has become a major public health issue in recent years. Oxycontin and other opioid painkillers have been widely abused. Legally speaking, all drugs that require a doctor’s prescription are tightly regulated. You can be arrested if you are found with any such drug on your person without a valid prescription. You will be charged with illegal possession of a controlled substance. That can happen even if you have a valid prescription if you carry your medicines in a seven day pill box.
What Constitutes a Valid Prescription in Texas?
Under Texas law, only a licensed physician, dentist, podiatrist, veterinarian, and certain optometrists may issue a prescription. Sometimes, an advanced practice nurse or physician’s assistant may also issue a prescription. He or she must be under the supervision of a physician. The prescription itself must comply with certain labeling and packaging requirements.
The Texas State Board of Pharmacy requires prescriptions to be dispensed in a childproof container unless the patient requests otherwise. The medication must have a label with the dispensing pharmacy’s name, address, and phone number. The label must list the date the prescription was filled. The prescribing doctor’s name and the quantity dispensed. Any instructions for use have to be “easily readable” by the patient.
A prescription can only be refilled with a physician’s authorization. The doctor may authorize one or more refills as part of the original prescription. You cannot ask a pharmacist to give you any refills “in advance.” Prescriptions also come with a legal time limit, either six months or one year. After the expiration date, no remaining refills are valid.
Schedule II drugs, including morphine, Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Percodan, carry such a high risk of abuse that refills are legally forbidden. Instead, you must obtain a new prescription in writing each time your doctor determines additional medication is necessary.
Can You Travel With Your Pills In a Seven Day Pill Box?
It is a good idea to always carry your prescription drugs in the original container from the pharmacy. But some people use a separate container–such as a 7-day pill box–to help keep track of their drug usage. While this is perfectly fine at home, it may carry certain legal risks while traveling.
Some states specifically forbid carrying prescription drugs in a “generic” or unlabeled container. Texas has no express law on this subject. However, if you are stopped by law enforcement while carrying prescription medication that is not in its original container, you could be arrested. In such cases, you would be charged with possessing a controlled substance. This is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, with a potential jail sentence of one year and a maximum fine of $4,000.
If you can prove that you have a valid and current prescription, you are unlikely to be convicted. Should you find it necessary to travel with your medications in a seven day pill box or otherwise outside of their original container, make sure you keep copies of your written prescriptions in your wallet or car. If the police detain you, you can avoid a potential misunderstanding.
Remember, however, that law enforcement does not have an automatic right to stop and search you for pills. Even in a routine traffic stop, police must have probable cause before searching your vehicle without your consent. In other words, just because you have a broken taillight does not give an officer the right to demand you produce prescriptions for any drugs on your person.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Challenge a Drug-Related Conviction in Texas
If you’ve been convicted of a drug-related offense in Texas, including one involving prescription drugs in a seven day pill box, you might feel overwhelmed and unsure of your rights. However, remember that a conviction doesn’t necessarily signal the end of the road. An experienced attorney can be instrumental in challenging your conviction and potentially reversing the outcome. They can help you with:
- Conducting Evidence Reviews: An attorney can investigate all evidence against you, ensuring its admissibility and accuracy. If their investigation suggests that evidence was mishandled or obtained unlawfully, your lawyer can move to have it dismissed in court.
- Handling Witness Testimony: Legal professionals know how to cross-examine witnesses effectively and can highlight inconsistencies in their statements. If the primary evidence against you comes from unreliable witness testimony, an attorney could work to discredit the witnesses.
- Identifying Procedural Missteps: The legal system is complex, and minor procedural errors can have major implications. If any part of your arrest, processing, or trial didn’t follow the proper protocol, there might be grounds for appeal.
- Verifying Prescriptions: In cases where the issue lies with unlabeled medication containers, a lawyer can work with medical professionals and pharmacies to authenticate a valid prescription. This could be pivotal in proving your legal right to possess the medication.
- Negotiating Lesser Penalties: Even if overturning the conviction isn’t feasible, an attorney can negotiate for reduced penalties or alternative sentencing. This could include drug education or rehabilitation programs instead of incarceration or fines.
Do You Need Help From a Collin County Drug Offense Attorney?
You should be aware of local laws regarding prescription bottles when traveling with medication outside of Texas. The Transportation Security Administration does not require you to keep medication in their original bottles. Nor do you have to declare or present any non-liquid medications to security agents. But once again, the laws of the state you may be traveling to may prohibit keeping medication in generic or unlabeled containers.
If you find yourself in any legal trouble arising from using or possessing medications, it is important not to panic. The first thing you need to do is seek legal advice from an experienced Collin County drug lawyer. Contact the Collin County criminal defense lawyers at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian today if you need to speak with someone immediately.