Interviewer: What about with prescription medication? What if a person has their mother’s or grandmother’s medication in the car and for some reason they get pulled over? They weren’t intentionally going to use that but will they still be charged?
How Does an Officer Develop Reasonable Suspicion to Perform a Search?
Court: Yes, that does happen, usually in conjunction with a DUI investigation or DUI arrest. When you’re driving down the street the constitution protects you. If you are not doing anything wrong then an officer can’t just stop you and search your car. When cars are searched it is because the officer is usually suspicious about something.
Generally it’s not going to be that the officer has some suspicion that you are carrying your mom’s medication. This is because there is not a behavior that you were engaged in that would make him suspicious.
Drug-Related Charges Often Originate during a DUI Investigation
All he might see is you acting in a strange manner and then he develops a reasonable suspicion to then investigate the situation further. When he escalates the investigation, he stumbles upon these other drugs.
After someone has been arrested for a DUI, their car may be searched incidentally. The car may be searched because the officer smelled the odor of a drug and he has now believed that he has reasonable suspicion to investigate the car for a search.
If the Officer Performs a Search during a DUI Investigation and Discovers Drugs, You Will Likely Be Facing Multiple Charges
When he searches the car he comes across the prescription medication. Subsequently, you can be charged with possession of a controlled substance as well as a DUI, even if it’s not an alcohol-related DUI. You might get a DUI for a prescription drugs or illegal drugs as well.
Most of the times officers like to think they’re reasonable, at least to a great extent they’re not just going to give you a ticket, a citation or charge you for carrying your mom’s prescription home from the store. They are going to charge you when they believe that you are misusing or abusing a prescription.
But if you were to be caught with somebody else’s medication and you were just innocently transporting it—that’s something you could offer that as a defense in your case.