The National Trial Lawyers
Expertise 2020
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How Does the State Prove Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?

To convict you of possession of drug paraphernalia, a prosecutor must prove that an everyday household item was somehow used to ingest drugs or store drugs. The problem with proving a drug paraphernalia case is that the paraphernalia is typically a perfectly legal item, like a Ziplock plastic baggie, or a digital scale. This stuff is legal to own, but when the police find these things near drugs, they call it drug paraphernalia.

Ziplock baggies are a classic drug paraphernalia item, and having too many small baggies near drugs and a digital scale or rolls of cash can get you in trouble, even if the baggies are empty, and even though every kitchen in Florida has a box of empty plastic baggies.

How Does the State Prove Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?So, for the prosecutor to prove that your plastic baggies are paraphernalia they’ve got to either have drugs in them, or drug residue, or the baggies must be near some drugs. And even if the state doesn’t have these things, the state can sometimes prove their case with a confession. For example, if you blurt out “I put all my weed in Ziplock baggies,” that sort of admission is all they need to prove that the baggies are drug paraphernalia.

One way a prosecutor can prove that a normal item is actually drug paraphernalia is to swab its surface for the presence of a drug. They don’t normally do this sort of thing, CSI stuff is usually reserved only for cases involving blood. But, digital scales are popular for this sort of treatment, the kind of scale most people have in their kitchen to weigh food. I don’t weigh my food at all, but I know people who do this and they’re usually far healthier than I am. Anyway, this digital kitchen scale becomes illegal when the police can prove that it has, for example, marijuana seeds or shake still in the bowl.

Basically, any sort of drug residue on an otherwise legal item can transform that item, in this case a scale, into drug paraphernalia.

I’m John Guidry, and if you’re facing a possession of drug paraphernalia, give me a call, let’s see if we can help you out. Thanks for watching, take care.

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