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Criminal Jury Instructions

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8.1-14  Illegal Sale or Possession of Prescription Drugs -- 21a-108 (2)

Revised to April 23, 2010

Note:  This statute has other subsections that are limited to the regulatory scheme applicable to practitioners, such as medical doctors and pharmacists.  If the defendant is being charged as a practitioner tailor the instruction accordingly.  See also Obtaining Prescription Drugs by Fraud, Instruction 8.1-13.

The defendant is charged [in count __] with the illegal (sale / possession) of prescription drugs.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

no person shall (sell / possess) any drug covered by said subsection, except as authorized by law.

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

Element 1 - Sold or possessed drug
The first element is that the defendant (sold / possessed) a drug, specifically <identify drug>.  <Insert appropriate definition(s):>

  • "Sale" is any form of delivery, which includes barter, exchange or gift, or offer therefor, and each such transaction made by any person whether as principal, proprietor, agent, servant or employee.

  • "Possession" means either actual possession or constructive possession.  Actual possession means actual physical possession, such as having the object on one's person.  Constructive possession means having the object in a place under one's dominion and control.

Possession also requires that the defendant knew that (he/she) was in possession of the <insert type of substance>.  That is, that (he/she) was aware that (he/she) was in possession of it and was aware of its nature.  The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew that (he/she) was in possession of <insert type of substance>.  <See Knowledge, Instruction 2.3-3.>

            <If some form of constructive possession is alleged, see Possession, Instruction 2.11-1.>1

Element 2 - Prescription drug
The second element is that the drug is required by state and federal law to be dispensed pursuant only to a prescription or is restricted to use by prescribing practitioners only.2   "Prescription" means a written, oral or electronic order for any controlled substance or preparation from a licensed practitioner to a pharmacist for a patient.

Element 3 - Not authorized
The third element is that such conduct of the defendant was not legally authorized.  The term "legally authorized" means that the drugs were not dispensed pursuant to a lawful prescription or by a prescribing practitioner. 


In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant (sold / possessed) <identify drug>, 2) <identify drug> can only legally be obtained through a legitimate prescription, and 3) the defendant's (sale / possession) of the drug was not authorized by law.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of illegal (possession / sale) of a prescription drug, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.

1 Ascertain from counsel what form of possession is alleged.  The definition should be narrowly tailored to the allegations.

2 See General Statutes 21a-106 (k) and 20-571 (14).


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