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What's required to prove prescription drug possession?

Imagine you were going for a walk in your Lynchburg neighborhood when, out of nowhere, a police officer pulls up and starts asking you questions. Pretty soon, the officer has you in handcuffs and is driving you to the police station on charges of prescription drug possession.

The problem is, you didn't commit the crime -- and now you have to defend yourself in court against charges that you're not guilty of. If you're in a situation like this, you need to understand what's required to convict you of a prescription drug possession crime.

What prosecutors have to prove in a prescription drug possession case

Virginia prosecutors will have to prove that you were in illegal possession of prescription drugs, beyond a reasonable doubt, in order for a conviction to occur. Alternatively, you'll need to actually confess to the crime by pleading guilty.

If you plead not guilty to the offense, here's what the prosecution will need to prove:

  1. You knew that the drug at the center of your alleged crime was a controlled substance and that it was illegal to possess the drug without a valid prescription from a medical provider.
  2. You knew that you were in possession of said controlled substance and/or you knew that you were in control of the drug in question.

It's important to note the use of "control" above. To be in "control" of a drug could mean that you were simply in "constructive possession" of the substance. In other words, you could access the illegal drug even if it wasn't actually on your person. Maybe the drug was hidden in your vehicle, in your apartment or somewhere else you had access to.

Barring the circumstances outlined above, the prosecution cannot convict you of a prescription drug possession crime.

Defending against prescription drug possession

If you want to defend yourself against prescription drug possession, you will have various criminal law strategies available to you. However, the best defense will be to provide proof that you had a prescription from a doctor to possess and use the drugs. Ultimately, the more you know about prescription drug laws, the better off you'll be when it comes to defending yourself against an illegal drug possession charge.

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