Steven J. Moore
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Drug paraphernalia charges based on context of use

Criminal charges related to drugs are not always brought about by possession of the drugs themselves. Occasionally, individuals can be facing drug charges for possession of what federal law constitute as paraphernalia. State laws provide a list of certain items that are unquestionably considered drug paraphernalia. Being found with these items, regardless of context is enough to be charged with a crime. However, depending on the context in which other objects are assumed or found, simple household items may be enough to warrant drug charges as well.

Generally speaking, drug paraphernalia can be separated into two categories; those meant to ingest drugs and those meant to distribute drugs. Depending on how these items are considered by officers and in what context they were found or said to be used, something as ordinary as a spoon may bring about drug paraphernalia charges.

One of the ways that officers determine whether or not an item is considered drug paraphernalia is to look at the context in which the item is generally used within the community. Depending on what rationale an officer uses to designate a specific item illegal, an individual facing drug paraphernalia charges may be able to defend themselves against charges. If an individual can prove that they had possession of the item for an alternative purpose other than to ingest or sell drugs, they may have a defense.

Unlike many other areas of criminal law, the context in which a suspected drug paraphernalia item is found may be enough to support criminal charges. Fortunately for individuals facing these charges, experienced criminal defense attorneys know how to dismantle a criminal case built on context. By working with a lawyer, individuals facing drug paraphernalia charges may be able to defend their position to the point of having these charges greatly reduced or even eliminated.