My troopers are always telling defendants the arrest for POCS PG 3 and Dangerous Drugs that "Well, I don't care if you have a prescription or not. The law requires you to keep the drugs in the prescription bottle."
I've looked for the law to which they refer and I can't find it.
Does anyone else know?
My grandma has her pills in those days of the week container so she won't forget to take her pills morning/noon/night. Hope she doesn't get taken down by DPS!!!
I know you need a prescription. Maybe the troopers mean you need to keep them in the bottle otherwise on the side of the road you are gonna get arrested. You can prove it to the DA later after you bond out, get your car out of the impound, and hire an attorney. Best idea-- Keep them in the bottle.
483.041 H&S Code makes it unlawful to possess a dangerous drug unless it has been "obtain[ed] from a pharmacist acting in the manner described by 483.042(a)(1)," which requires that the drug be dispensed in a container with a label on it, which in most cases will be a prescription bottle.
I know of no cases that interpret the statutes together as requiring that the person obtaining the drugs keep them in the bottle. However,I suppose one could argue that if the law requires the drugs be possessed only if obtained in a bottle, probable cause to arrest is established if the drugs are not in a prescription bottle when discovered and the suspect cannot immediately produce a prescription bottle when asked. See Soto v. State, 810 S.W.2d 861, 864 (Tex.App.--Fort Worth 1991), in which the court finds the lack of a prescription bottle as part of the justification for the arrest (although in that case the defendant also stated he did not have a prescription).
DPS narcotics is monitoring this site. The warrant has been signed and SWAT is surrounding your grandma's residence as we speak. Tell her to surrender peacefully and no one has to be hurt.
Poor Grandma! She's gonna barricade herself in the house with presciption bottles blocking all the windows!
Must have a LOT of RX (or very few windows). I've seen an elderly couple on docket day for this very thing - the prosecutor reset with instructions to bring a statement from the pharmacy.
Well, if DPS Narcotics didn't know before now about this thread, they do now because I sent it to their attorney, Donna Starling. In a more serious note, I also sent it to Major Baker at Highway Patrol and asked him to give me a call about this issue. I presume that most officers--Troopers included--know the difference between somebody in possession of a container of 150 ocycodone pills and no reasonable explanation for having them, and a person with her daily doses of drugs neatly arranged in a pill carrier! (At least I hope they would.)
One would hope that they can tell the difference between a strung out addict with criminal history and a grandma, too.
Sometimes there isn't a difference...
Are you talking about my grandma?
Everybody already knows about YOUR grandma . . .
Thanks, Janet, for being proactive and getting this out to the right people. Most all of us take pills (legally).......
This is a common practice for many law enforcement agencies, not just DPS.
More and more, I see cases in which there is no immediate threat to the safety of the community and a defendant who is very findable should we need to speak to them later. That is often a defendant who we do not have to arrest on-site if there is additional information that could be gathered before a decision to arrest/prosecute is made.
We regularly teach officers to delay the impulse to arrest. Achieving probable cause is not necessarily the standard for triggering an arrest. That is the minimum. Absent danger or flight, delaying an arrest can often provide opportunities to enhance the evidence in a case.
As a side note, delaying arrest also expands the time period that law enforcement can talk to the defendant without the interruption of Miranda warnings. Those warnings are triggered by the presence of custody preceding interrogation.
Wouldn't it be nice to just give Grandma a grand jury supboena, requiring her to bring a prescription or face possible criminal prosecution? Discussions like this have developed in other areas of the law, where the Legislature has created so many variations in the law (e.g. unlawful carrying of a weapon).
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