Drug paraphernalia is a blanketing term that covers a broad scope of drug-related items. While many people are familiar with the term because it is so often thrown around the media, there is much more to this type of charge than meets the eye. Here, we will examine what constitutes as paraphernalia and what exactly must be proven in court in order for the charge to stick. A good legal defense can help you with a matter such as this.
What is Drug Paraphernalia?
The state of Florida defines drug paraphernalia as any item that is designed in the use, manufacturing, or growing of any type of illegal drug. The statute goes on to describe various items that could fall into this category such as:
- Soda bottles;
- Duct tape; and
However, there are a number of additional terms that are used to describe various items that could potentially be used for drug consumption or distribution. The law intentionally leaves room for interpretation which can lead to interesting defense cases. As you can see here, many of the terms are common household items that can be used for a number of reasons other than drug use or creation.
The Burden of the Prosecution
While the law itself is blanketing, the prosecution bears the burden of proving that such items were intended for drugs. Remember, just because you are charged with a crime does not mean that you are automatically responsible for paying the cost. There is a process. The points that a prosecutor typically focuses on include:
- The proximity that the item is a to controlled substance;
- The detection of drug residue on the item; and
- Statements made by witnesses about the intended use of the item.
There state of Florida defines drug paraphernalia in very specific terms, but there are certainly a number of points that must be proven in order to create a substantial case in court.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
It is important that people understand what possession actually means in terms of Florida law. A common assumption is that the item has to be physically on the accused person. This is not true. In Florida, the term “constructive possession” is commonly used. This means that a person can be charged if the item is within an area that the person controls. Again, the prosecutor must prove that the accused had control over that particular area. Additionally, there is such a term as “joint possession” which means that more than one person can be charged with possessing the same item. This charge is based on the proximity and likeliness that individuals had access and intent to using the item.
Defense for Possession Charges
Attorney Scott Skier is located in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has a number of years of experience providing quality legal defense to each of his clients. Attorney Skier understands the urgency and stress that each client feels about their particular case and he is committed to helping them through each part of the process. If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, reach out to someone who can help you. Call Attorney Skier today for a free, no obligation consultation.