Prescription Bottle — Half Full, or Half Empty? The Case of the Missing Meds. | PN Lawyers
You leave the house early in the morning and you plan to be out for the whole day. You are required to take medication every day so you have to take your medication with you on the road. Your meds are a controlled substance, so you want to have your prescription bottle but you do not want to take all of your pills out of the house. So you keep 10 pills in the bottle, that you just refilled yesterday, and leave 50 pills at home in a container. Unfortunately, you get stopped by the police and they ask you if you take medication. You show them your prescription bottle that says it has sixty pills (3 pills per day) with only 10 pills in it. The police tell you that you are under arrest and charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. You explain that you have a prescription but the police continue to cuff you, put a hand on your head and put in into the back seat of the cruiser. Your car is towed to the pound.
What did you do that was wrong? Nothing, really. But it gave the police reason to believe that you were selling your meds. The prescription was valid but it had just been filled with 60 tablets and the next day you only had ten. That is why you are in the back seat of an NYPD cruiser on the way to the precinct.
In this week’s case, the police recovered prescription pill bottle from Luis Robles that contained only 24 pills, while bearing a label indicating that he had filled a prescription for 60 pills the day before his arrest and containing instructions to take one tablet twice a day. Mr. Robles went to trial because he did have a valid prescription. The gamble did not pay off – the jury found Mr. Roble guilty of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. Being a second felony drug offender, Mr. Robles was sentenced to concurrent terms of three years in jail. The court ruled that the prescription bottle permitted an inference that Mr. Robles had made uncharged sales, and it tended to establish intent to sell, an element of the possession charge.
Here is the case: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2018/2018_01559.htm