Under A.R.S. 13-3406(A)(1), it’s unlawful to knowingly possess a prescription-only drug without a valid prescription from a licensed medical practitioner.
Unfortunately, this law can be strict and unforgiving. Even if it’s a friend or family member’s prescription drug, you can still be charged with unlawful possession. Whether the state can prove your guilt depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your case.
What must the prosecutor prove?
The prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were in knowing possession of a prescription-only drug. It also must be shown that you knew the drug was prescribed.
What is “knowing” possession under Arizona law?
Under A.R.S. 13-105, knowing means that a person is aware of the conduct and circumstances. As such, you must know where the prescription drug is located and that it’s a prescription-only drug.
Possession can be actual or constructive. Actual possession is where you’re found with drugs on your person, clothing, bag, or purse. Constructive possession is where they’re in a place that you had control over; this might be a car, house, or bedroom. Constructive possession is harder to prove because there are several plausible explanations for not knowing about drugs.