If you have been charged with possessing marijuana paraphernalia, this can result in some serious consequences if you live in a state that prohibits its use. However, there are some defenses that can help you successfully fight the charges.
Currently, it is against federal law to sell, transport in interstate commerce, or export/import drug paraphernalia. Marijuana paraphernalia can include these things:
- Various types of marijuana pipes and bongs,
- Measuring scales,
- Packaging materials,
- Roach clips,
- Separation gin/sifters for refining it,
- Carburetion masks, and more.
You could claim you had some of these things for other purposes, but if there is marijuana residue present on an item, you would still be charged with having paraphernalia.
"Police Procedures Were Improper" defenses
If the police violated your rights or failed to follow proper procedure when discovering your items, the evidence may not be admissible and this would result in your case being dismissed if there is no other evidence against you.
Police should have an articulate-able and reasonable suspicion that you are committing an infraction or other crime to stop and detain you as a pedestrian or pull you over while you are in a vehicle. They need a reasonable suspicion to frisk you for weapons, drugs, or drug related items.
If you receive a ticket for a traffic violation, then you should be allowed to leave the scene without a search being conducted unless the items are in plain view, there is a strong marijuana odor coming from the vehicle, or you are clearly impaired. An officer can't claim your nervousness or the fact that your car has the smell of a deodorizer as reasonable suspicion to further detain you and call in a canine unit or to conduct a search.
Officers need probable cause to obtain a warrant to search a home for contraband materials and drugs, and they can't search beyond the limits defined in the document.
"It Wasn't Mine" Defense
If you borrowed an item of clothing or a vehicle that contained paraphernalia, or someone used your stuff/vehicle and left items in it, you could claim having no knowledge of the items being there and that they aren't yours. Of course, you are more likely to be successful with this defense if you don't have any prior drug related convictions. It also helps if you can pass a drug test, which your attorney might want to arrange for.
A marijuana paraphernalia charge can result in jail time, a fine, or a driver's license suspension depending on where you were received it. It can also affect your eligibility for student loans and employment.
You will need to consult with a criminal law attorney to discuss your options and to prepare a vigorous defense if needed. Contact a company like Brian Walker Law Firm, PC for more information.