Why You Should Keep Your Medicine In A Prescription Bottle

You can be arrested for possessing your own legally-prescribed medicine. It sounds ridiculous, but it happens.

Here’s a scenario: you get pulled over for speeding. The officer finds a reason to search your car, or you consent to a search (don’t do that). The officer finds a random pill sitting in your glove box, center console, or bag. It’s medicine your doctor prescribed you, but it must have fallen out of the bottle, or maybe you carry extra with you just in case. If that medication falls under North Carolina’s controlled substance schedule, then you could be arrested for possessing it.

Theoretically, you should be able to have the charge dismissed on your first court date by simply providing the prescription from the doctor, but that is ultimately very costly — you have to pay for a lawyer, take time off of work, and deal with the stress of a pending charge. That pending charge could cause you to lose your job or affect the custody of your children.

What if you have your spouse’s medication with you in a pill bottle? Some officers may see that the prescription matches the bottle, and will leave it alone. However, some may still cite you for having a prescription that is not legally yours. In that case, your spouse (or whomever may be the legal owner) would have to come to court or sign an affidavit stating it is his or hers.


  • Never consent to a search of your car, home, or purse
  • Be polite and cooperative with the officer
  • Do not admit to anything
  • Do not believe the officer when he tells you everything will be easier on you if you just tell the truth
  • Do not believe the officer when he says you can just go to court and have the charge dismissed (Why would he be charging you in the first place?)
  • Call a lawyer immediately

If you have been cited or arrested in Wake County, call Attorney William Pruden at 919-880-2124 for a free consultation.

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