Drug Possession in the 7th Degree case example in New York
In People v. Price, 35 Misc 3d 1203[A], 950 N.Y.S.2d 725, 2012 NY Slip Op 50548[U] [Crim Ct Richmond County, 2012], the trial court held that an accusatory charging Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree was legally sufficient where the officer alleged that he identified the pills as Oxycodone based only upon his training and experience in the recognition of drugs and the markings on the pills, with which he was familiar, even though the officer did not describe the markings on the pills in the accusatory instrument.
The Price court noted that Title 21, Part 206 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 206.10, which is entitled, "Code imprint required," mandates that all prescription drugs are "clearly marked or imprinted with a code imprint that, in conjunction with the product's size, shape, and color, permits the unique identification of the drug..." Price, 2012 NY Slip Op 50548[U] at 3.
The Price court explained:
The importance of these labels, making for an easy and certain identification, is obvious. The imprints, put there by the original manufacturer, help protect the lives and well being of legitimate prescription users. Indeed, individuals who use several drugs rely on these markings to ascertain which drug is which so as to avoid complications from unhealthy, if not lethal, combinations. Doctors, health care providers and pharmacists rely on these markings to make positive identifications for the health and well being of their patients. Since these pills must contain markings to insure content certainty, a far cry from the street drugs often encountered in criminal cases, there is less, not more, need for a lab report to definitively identify prescription pills than cocaine, heroin and marijuana, for which the law does not now require a lab report, when an officer alleges recognition based upon his training and experience. Thus, it is logical and reasonable to extend the holding of People v. Kalin (12 NY3d 225, 229, 906 N.E.2d 381, 878 N.Y.S.2d 653 ) to prescription pills. id.
In Price, the officer possessed the training and experience necessary to recognize a prescription pill based upon its appearance and imprinted markings.