Duvall v. StateAnnotate this Case
Defendant was convicted of felony possession of a controlled substance and felony possession of drugs not in their original container where, during a search incident to arrest, police officers found in defendant's pockets three loose tablets of a substance which proved to be Zolpidem Tartrate, a prescription sleeping aid also known by the brand name Ambien. At issue was whether the Court of Appeals erred "in affirming the defendant's convictions for possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance not in its original container, and in particular, in construing OCGA 16-13-30(a) and 16-13-75 not to require the defendant to know that the pills he possessed were a controlled substance." The court held that the criminal intent required by OCGA 16-13-30(a) and 16-13-75 was intent to possess a drug with knowledge of the chemical identity of that drug. Therefore, the court held that defendant's knowledge of the chemical identity of the substance in his possession was purely a question of fact and as such, it should have been a question for the jury and the jury should have been instructed to consider the defense of mistake of fact. Accordingly, because defendant's request for such an instruction was erroneously denied by the trial court, defendant was entitled to a new trial and the judgment of the Court of Appeals was reversed.