Timothy O. McCalep

How should you respond to drug paraphernalia charges?

Drug paraphernalia charges exist in an interesting place, as far as legal consequences are concerned. While such as charge is a criminal offense and may lead to a variety of negative consequences, it is generally preferable to receive drug paraphernalia charges than drug possession charges. As a drug-related charge, a conviction still comes with relatively harsh punishment for an essentially minor violation.

Although Georgia maintains its own drug enforcement laws, federal laws prohibit a number of activities surrounding drug paraphernalia, including selling, transporting across state lines, and importing or exporting. Depending on the nature of a particular item, it is possible that merely possessing paraphernalia is enough to result in charges, even if there is no evidence of intent to sell or transport it.

The stakes of a paraphernalia charge may vary significantly if the charge is federal rather than state. In some cases, suspects may have grounds to claim that they use such items in ways that do not involve illicit drugs or that they have specific authorization to possess paraphernalia. If an item is used for legitimate purposes, then a suspect may successfully claim that the item does not justify the charges and court may dismiss them.

Prosecutors may attempt to determine the actual uses of alleged drug paraphernalia though laboratory testing. If the item contains residue from drug use, claiming that it is not paraphernalia is far more difficult.

If you are facing drug paraphernalia charges, do not wait to begin building your criminal defense. If you do, you may miss out on crucial opportunities to protect yourself and dismiss the charges or lessen your sentence.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Paraphernalia Charges," accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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