How to Legally Transport Medications in Minnesota

Medications that are on a Minnesota controlled substance list must be transported in their original container with the attached prescription to avoid possible arrest. Under Minnesota law, prescription medications must be transported according to strict rules, even if the medications were legally prescribed by a physician.

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Carry Medications with Caution

Rules for transporting medications are quite strict, stating that they must be carried in their original container along with the attached prescription. If medications are not transported according to the rules, an individual may be charged with a felony offense.

People with chronic illnesses commonly carry their prescription medications with them when they leave the house. Although their medications are perfectly legal, law enforcement has a difficult task of distinguishing between legal and illegal drugs without medical proof. Even aspirin and antacids can be hard to identify without proper packaging. When transporting medications, Minnesota law states the following:

  • Carry proof that identifies the medications
  • Carry proof of a prescription by a licensed medical physician
  • Carry all medications on the controlled substance list in original containers with prescriptions attached

When medications are transported without proper documentation, law enforcement may suspect drug abuse, drug possession, or drug sales which can lead to arrest, fines, and even jail time.

Despite the fact that millions of Americans are on prescription medications, much work needs to be done to raise awareness about the laws that govern carrying medications. Unfortunately, the government has done little to educate the public, medical professionals, or law enforcement, so there is a lot of confusion on the subject. Some states require original containers with prescription labels for all transported medications, while other states only require this with controlled substances. Still other states allow medications to be transported in any type of container, as long as a medical prescription can be presented.

People who take prescription medications for chronic illnesses can be easily mistaken for people using illegal drugs. If stopped by law enforcement, a police officer must have a search warrant, “probable cause” or consent to search the person’s belongings or car. When searching for drugs, if drugs are in plain sight this constitutes probable cause. If criminal activity is suspected, police officers are allowed to perform a search based on “reasonable suspicion.”

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

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