We Represent the Rights of Individuals Accused of Possessing Drug Paraphernalia in and around Miami, Florida
If you are facing possession of drug paraphernalia charges under Florida Statute 893.147, it’s critical that you call Stroleny Law, P.A. as soon as you can. If you are convicted, you could be facing dire consequences, including substantial fines, probation, community service, random drug testing, and even jail time. Fortunately, in many cases, there are defenses available that can mitigate the consequences you are facing, and that may be able to result in your case being dropped or dismissed entirely.
Our Miami drug paraphernalia lawyers are committed to defending the rights of the accused and helping our clients move on with their lives with as few consequences as possible. We will thoroughly evaluate the facts of your case and determine whether any defenses apply, ensuring that your case is resolved as favorably as it can be. To discuss your case with a Miami criminal defense lawyer, call our office today at 305-615-1285 or contact us online.
What is Drug Paraphernalia?
Under Florida law, drug paraphernalia is defined as all products, equipment, or materials that are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, transporting, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance prohibited by law. Examples of the kinds of things that could fall within the definition of drug paraphernalia include:
- Rolling papers
- Testing equipment
- Scales and balances
- Diluents or adulterants, such as quinine hydrochloride, caffeine, mannitol, mannitol, and lactose
- Blenders, bowls, spoons, containers that are used to compound controlled substances
- Water pipes/pipes
The Consequences of Drug Paraphernalia Possession
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a first-degree misdemeanor. As such, it can result in a punishment of up to 12 months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, a conviction for any drug-related charge can result in significant collateral consequences, such as difficulty getting a job, the loss of a current job, sanctions imposed by your school, issues obtaining a professional license, and even problems finding a place to live. For this reason, it’s essential to do everything you can to avoid a drug paraphernalia conviction whenever possible – which starts by retaining the right Miami criminal defense attorney to represent you.
Drug Paraphernalia Possession Defenses
If you’ve been accused of possessing drug paraphernalia, it’s important to understand that there are often defenses available. Two of the most common are discussed below.
Arguing the Item Possessed Does Not Fit the Definition of Paraphernalia
Depending on the item, it can be hard for the state to establish that the item that they are calling paraphernalia was intended to be used in connection with drugs. A simple glance at the list of items above is enough to realize that many otherwise innocent items could potentially be labeled paraphernalia by overzealous police. Clearly, there are other uses for spoons and balloons that have nothing to do with drugs, and sometimes overzealous police and prosecutors attempt to make a paraphernalia case where none exists.
Florida law requires that a court or a jury consider certain factors when making a determination about whether an item is drug paraphernalia as defined by the law. These factors include the following:
- Statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object concerning its use.
- The proximity of the object, in time and space, to a direct violation of this act.
- The proximity of the object to controlled substances.
- The existence of any residue of controlled substances on the object.
- Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, to deliver it to persons who he or she knows, or should reasonably know, intend to use the object to facilitate a violation of this act. The innocence of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, as to a direct violation of this act shall not prevent a finding that the object is intended for use, or designed for use, as drug paraphernalia.
- Instructions, oral or written, provided with the object concerning its use.
- Descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict its use.
- Any advertising concerning its use.
- The manner in which the object is displayed for sale.
- Whether the owner, or anyone in control of the object, is a legitimate supplier of like or related items to the community, such as a licensed distributor of or dealer in tobacco products.
- Direct or circumstantial evidence of the ratio of sales of the object or objects to the total sales of the business enterprise.
- The existence and scope of legitimate uses for the object in the community.
- Expert testimony concerning its use.
An experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami can often argue that the circumstances of a given arrest do not justify a finding that a given item is paraphernalia. In some cases, a strong enough argument may even convince a prosecutor to drop the matter before filing formal charges. For this reason, it’s critical that anyone accused of the possession of drug paraphernalia consult with a Miami criminal defense attorney prior as soon as possible after an arrest.
4th Amendment Violations
The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits police from engaging in unreasonable searches and seizures. In order to search you, your vehicle, or your home, the police must have a warrant, or they must have probable cause to believe a crime is being or has recently been committed. If neither condition exists and the police conduct a search anyway, any evidence that they discover can often be suppressed, meaning that it cannot be used against you in court. Without access to the evidence that you possessed potential contraband, the state usually cannot proceed with its case against you. Whether the police violated your 4th Amendment rights in a given scenario is a complicated question that requires significant legal analysis, so anyone arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia should discuss their options with an experienced defense attorney in Miami as soon as possible.
Call Stroleny Law, P.A. Today to Discuss Your Case with a Miami Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested and accused of the possession of drug paraphernalia, you should speak to a criminal attorney right away. Julian Stroleny, Esq. is a former prosecutor who knows how to defend his clients’ rights and is committed to resolving every case he handles as favorably as possible. For a free case evaluation with a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, call the office today at 305-615-1285 or send an email through the online contact form.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Miami Criminal Defense Attorney.