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Can I be arrested on drug charges after my prescription expires?

Let’s imagine you have an accident. You break your leg and need surgery. You get a titanium rod and screws to hold things together. Your leg hurts, even after the surgery’s done, so your doctor prescribes a painkiller. Because you’re tough, you don’t use all the pills during your recovery.

Then you hurt your shoulder a few months later. Your pills have expired, but you think they could still help ease your pain. So, you dig them out of your cabinet and take one. You throw the rest in your car and head to work. Unfortunately, you drive too fast and get pulled over. The officer sees the bottle on your seat and asks to see your prescription. What happens if your prescription’s expired?

Possession of a controlled substance

In Indiana, you could face felony charges for holding onto a prescription drug after your prescription has expired. According to the law, it’s illegal to have any controlled substance without “a valid prescription” or doctor’s order. Getting caught with an old bottle of painkillers could amount to a Class A misdemeanor. Or, if you were caught near your child’s school, you might be looking at felony charges.

It’s not just the date that matters. You could face charges if you’re caught with the wrong form of medication. Such as if your antidepressant was prescribed in tablet form and you’re holding gel capsules.

It may seem ridiculous and unfair to face felony charges for holding onto the meds that you were prescribed. But the possible charges are clearly no joke. Without a solid defense, you could find your life turned upside down.

How can you defend yourself?

Of course, the best way to avoid getting caught holding controlled drugs without a valid prescription is to dispose of your pills after your prescription expires. It may seem like a waste, but it’s probably the best course in the long run.

That said, even if you face possession charges, you may still have options:

  • Just as you must obey the law, so must the police. If they violate your rights in any way, a defense lawyer may help you pick their case apart.
  • Your attorney might argue for reduced charges or a deferred sentence. The circumstances of your case and character matter greatly.

The best defense to any charge of drug possession will vary with the specifics of the case. At Kammen & Moudy, our attorneys know how important it is to review all the circumstances and characters involved in a case. We work hard to get the full picture and help our clients receive the best possible outcome.

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