My husband is a Police Officer in Philadelphia for over 10 years now and he tells me all the time, NEVER OFFER INFORMATION. Even if you know you are totally innocent and think that you should just tell the cops what is going on it is ALWAYS best to shut your mouth and wait for a lawyer. It is a shame that we are all guilty until proven innocent but that is the case and beleive me, being married to one I can tell you. cops can be real jerks! My heart goes out to those of us that have been accused unfairly of being a drug addict/seeker.
Well.......I got onto this one a bit late but as I am a police officer let me try to clear up some things.
In my 23 years in law enforcement I know of NO law that states you can not travel with prescription pain medication on your person that IS prescribed to you. There are ordinances that vary from state to state on quantity that you may have that is not in the labeled bottle so it is best to just have it in the bottle as I myself carry them. The Federal Goverment and the DEA actually encourage those that have to travel with these types of medications to have them in a carry on bag and not in a checked bag because of the level of abuse of these narcotics and the risk of theft.
You CAN be arrested and charged with DUI in all 50 States if you are caught driving while taking these medications, prescribed or not. I am assuming that is why the woman's husband who is a Philadelphia Police Officer said not to say anything. All of us that take these medications know that it is almost impossible to not be able to drive if we have to take these medications everyday. It is just another problem we all deal with everyday. None the less it is against the law.
In regards to Vickey's story the way she explains it, that was an illegal search in any state. The police officer could not search your vehicle or your purse without probable cause or your permission. This would be the same for the person mentioned in the story that Sandee posted. The officer can ask you to put your purse outside the vehicle for his/her own protection in case there may be a weapon in there. If he or she feels that there may be a weapon or contraband in the purse they still must ask permission or get a warrant as once it is not within your reach it no longer poses a threat. You don't forfeit any of your rights because you are in the company of someone that is on probation. I don't know what happened as I wasn't there and I am very sorry to hear that you had to lose your leg and then suffer through this experience as well.
If you were unable to travel anywhere with these medications, how would you get them home from the pharmacy? That is why Vickey's story has me a bit confused as she said her medications were prescribed and in the labeled bottles. Even if prescription fraud were suspected an investigation should have to be conducted prior to charges be filed.
It took me a very long time to type this because of my conditions, but I seems that some are getting confused with the law here and I wouldn't want anyone to go without their prescribed medications because they thought they couldn't leave their home with them without the fear of being arrested.
Oh Vicky I am soo sorry for what you have been through! I do hope you consult an attorney as red said they had to probable reason to search you and if you did not give them permission they were out of line! Also you had legitimate prescriptions for your pain medications so I would definitely look into putting a case against them to show them they were wrong and the horrible time they put you through not to mention your sisters kids! Oh that is awful they had to endure the pain they must have gone through for nothing! Talk to a attorney please!
Thank you so much for chiming in on this topic. We can always count on you to advise us when it comes to matters like this, we are really lucky to have you here as part of our community! Thanks again:)
Good post Red, and no offense Vickey but I think something is missing from your story as Red pointed out.
Red, also...you can be charged for DUI that is true, however it almost never ends in a conviction because proving you were under the influence can be hard. If you take an ER medication at 6am and it lasts 8 hours and you get pulled over at 5pm, the medication will be in your system on a test, however you're not being affected by it. They have to bring in specialists to prove it and it takes a lot of effort and it would be nearly impossible to prove.
Furthermore, unless you actively tell them, or look intoxicated from it chances are they won't notice. I was arrested last year, and had the opiate in my system and was never questioned except about alcohol. So while it is a possibility, it's not very likely. Telling a cop "YEAH I TOOK 2 MORPHINE!" if he asks is the worst thing to do. Don't tell them a thing and if they notice intoxication, speak with a lawyer before saying anything.
Offering up information to a police officer can be your undoing if you're suspected of anything. There was a seminar on google video by a prosecutor and police officer about this, showing all the ways it can backfire.
I wanted everyone to be aware of the DUI because it is not just about being pulled over. What if, God Forbid you get into an accident and you are injured or you injure soemone else. In this case you are going to the hospital regardless and blood will be drawn and you WILL be arrested. I have been there and have seen it for myself too many times.
Believe me,a police officer gets no pleasure in having to arrest someone who is in bad shape to begin with and adds insult to injury with a new one to deal with or have to carry the burden of hurting someone else.
Listen, I still drive myself when I can while on these medications, but short distances only. That doesn't make it right. I still run the risk of hurting myself or others backing out of my driveway, but we can't have to rely on others all the time to get to doctors appointments, stores, etc. Some of us have nobody to help us, those are the people I really feel sorry for.
The other thing you need to be mindful of is that just because you don't tell the officer that you are taking the medication doesn't mean that you going to get past a field sobriety test. It can be administered at anytime when an officer feels that you MAY be intoxicated. I have seen people fail them simply because of their disabilities and still be charged because the medication was later found in their system.
I will say that, I, personally always have let the person go that was honest with me about it and didn't have far to go. If they did have a distance to travel I would either let another licensed driver in the vehicle drive or let them call someone to come to the location and drive them rather than make an arrest. I was never that desperate to hit the sheet with a cheap arrest. I work in a city where someone gets killed everyday so there are bigger things to worry about. But you are all right that there are cops out there that will, but again the law is the law.
I will tell you this. If you have a Hanicapped Placard or Handicapped Plates, most officers will not arrest you and give you the options that I mentioned above. Police Officers are human beings also and understand these things. I just got one myself in March. After being a cop for 23 years it was a bit humbling for me to do but my doctor insisted as I can't walk more than 100 yards now without having some difficulty. I have to say that I am getting a bit pissed with able bodied people getting these things and taking the parking space that I need but that is another issue.
We all have experienced lightheadedness, dizziness. sleepiness, etc from these medications and know that it can happen at anytime. That is why it is safer to just not drive but it is just another Catch 22 that all of us have to deal with.
It is better to be safe than sorry and we all need to think about the safety of others as well as ourselves. Get a ride whenever possible and if there is another licensed driver in the car toss them the keys. My son just got his license so he is my personal chauffeur these days. I know he just wants to get his hands on my truck but I will take the service while it lasts. LOL
True Red, but a lot of people on these medications for long periods of time have no issues at all mental or physical impairment. If I was ever field tested, I have two shot knees and cannot balance regardless.
Taking these meds and driving doesn't affect me in the least and never has. For them to actually prosecute you is not easy, they need to hire people that can actually attest that you were intoxicated. You could hire an expert that would say the exact opposite and it would become a long drawn out battle.