Defining and Defending Against Drug Paraphernalia Charges

Charges of drug paraphernalia possession can carry hefty penalties in Miami. Hiring a drug defense attorney shortly after an arrest can be a good way to learn more about the charges and possible penalties. You can also discuss the case in-depth to go over potential defenses. If you have been charged, you could possibly pay up to $1,000 in fines, and/or spending up to one year in jail with another year on probation, if convicted.

Drug Paraphernalia and Paraphernalia Charges

Drug paraphernalia is defined by Florida law as “all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, transporting, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance.” (§893.145)

Proving that the paraphernalia was actually possessed by you can be pretty difficult. Because of this, there are several other determining factors when it comes to charging an individual with paraphernalia possession.

Considerations for charging an individual with paraphernalia possession include:

  • anything the owner of the paraphernalia says;
  • whether the paraphernalia was near the controlled substance;
  • specific, documented instructions regarding the paraphernalia;
  • expert testimony about the paraphernalia’s common or intended use; and/or
  • whether the object may be used for other purposes that are legal.

The actual crime of drug paraphernalia possession is committed if a person owns, keeps, or controls the use of an item that is determined to be illegal drug paraphernalia. A judge or jury makes the determination of such a crime during court proceedings. If you are unsure how this applies to your Miami drug charges, ask your drug defense attorney.

Defenses to Paraphernalia Charges

A drug defense attorney in Miami can help you to find the right defense in your case, as there are a few defenses that generally tend to work.

There are two primary defenses to paraphernalia possession charges; illegal search and seizure and insufficient evidence. Illegal search and seizure occurs when law enforcement officials overstep their boundaries by either searching a location or person without consent or warrant or coercing the person to consent to a search.

Insufficient evidence is a viable defense if the prosecuting attorney fails to establish either actual possession or constructive possession. When it comes to paraphernalia charges, you can only be charged on the basis of actual possession if the paraphernalia was actually on your person when it was found, such as if it were in your hand or pocket.

Constructive possession, however, can be proven if the paraphernalia was found in a place to which you had access. In order to prove constructive possession, the prosecuting attorney must show that you knew the paraphernalia was there, you knew it was intended for use as illegal drug paraphernalia, and that you had “dominion or control” over its use.

The best way to figure out which defense will work best in your individual case is to contact a drug defense attorney. Located in Miami, Falk & Ross Law Firm may be able to help individuals charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Contact a drug defense attorney at our Miami offices for a free consultation. Call us today at: 1-877-663-5110.