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Considerations when determining if items are drug paraphernalia

One of the reasons for which a Florida resident can be arrested on drug offenses is possession of drug paraphernalia. While this can lead to various consequences, it is important for a person who is dealing with drug charges to know what state law says about how it is determined that an item is drug paraphernalia. If there is a reasonable argument that the item in question might not have been used as drug paraphernalia, this could be the foundation for a defense against the charges.

The following will be considered when determining if the item was used as drug paraphernalia: statements that the owner or anyone in control of the object made regarding how it was used; the location of the object and how close it is - in time and space - to a violation of the law; the location of the object and how close it is to controlled substances; if there is evidence either direct or circumstantial regarding the owner's intent, or the intent of anyone who controls it to deliver it to those who should know or reasonably know that it will be a violation of the law. For that, even if the person is found to be innocent, that does not mean that the object will not be found to have been used as drug paraphernalia.

Also relevant will be: any instructions, written or spoken, that are provided with the item detailing how it is to be used; materials describing the object and how it is to be used; an advertisement that details its use; how the object is displayed while it is for sale; if the owner or anyone who is in control of it legitimately supplies these types of items, for example, a person who sells legal tobacco products; if there is evidence, direct or circumstantial, regarding the ratio of sales of that object or objects of the total sale of the business; if there is a legitimate use for the item in the community; and expert testimony regarding how it is used.

People who are arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia must be cognizant of how to prepare a defense against these and other drug charges. One method might be to call into question the initial assertion that it was used for drug paraphernalia in the first place. Those who are confronted with drug offenses must understand the consequences they face if they are convicted including the possibility of jail time, fines and more. A lawyer experienced in helping clients who have been charged with drug crimes can be of assistance.

Source: leg.state.fl.us, "893.146 -- Determination of paraphernalia.," accessed on April 8, 2018

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