Orlando Drug Paraphernalia Attorney
In Florida and most other states, drug paraphernalia charges are often drug possession fallback charges. If police do not see enough evidence for possession for drug trafficking, they arrest people for possession of drug paraphernalia in Florida. However, in most other jurisdictions, drug paraphernalia possession is basically a traffic ticket. But in the Sunshine State, this offense is a first-degree misdemeanor.
The aggressive Florida drug paraphernalia possession lawyers at Sercombe Law tackle these cases head-on. After we determine your needs and goals in a particular situation, we quickly analyze the evidence and apply the applicable law. Then, in both court hearings and plea negotiation sessions, we assertively stand up for your rights. Our professional passion is to serve as a strong voice for criminal defendants in every part of this process.
Elements of the Offense
Under the broad definition in Section 893.147, almost any household item could be drug paraphernalia. So, courts impose additional requirements in these cases. In addition to proving possession of an item, prosecutors must also establish that the item was, in fact, drug paraphernalia. Some factors include:
- Proximity to Controlled Substances: As mentioned, drug paraphernalia charges are often fallback charges. So, this element is often difficult to prove, because if there were controlled substances nearby, prosecutors would probably charge the defendant with drug possession.
- Expert Testimony: This “expert testimony” is usually the arresting officer’s testimony that the item was drug paraphernalia. Sometimes, the officer acquired “expert knowledge” through years of experience or at a number of independent educational seminars. But that’s normally not the case.
Other factors include the presence of drug residue on the item and the item’s legitimate use, if any.
Orlando drug paraphernalia attorneys handle other types of cases as well. For example, it is illegal to ingest or inhale a controlled substance. Such allegations are dangerously close to criminalizing drug addiction, which is illegal in the United States. It is also illegal to grow or cultivate marijuana. These prosecutions often involve extremely flimsy circumstantial evidence.
How a Lawyer for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Responds
As in most other types of criminal cases, drug paraphernalia charges often have both procedural and substantive defenses.
Procedurally, officers sometimes lack probable cause for a search and seizure. These issues are quite common in drug cases, because officers often take illegal shortcuts in these matters. Substantively, constructive possession is difficult to prove in court. Unless the defendant admitted owning the drug paraphernalia, prosecutors must establish proximity, control over the item, and knowledge of its illicit purpose.
Some drug paraphernalia charges also involve the overdose defense. Sometimes, drug residue infects other objects when a person overdoses and needs medical help. These kinds of charges never hold up in court.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious offense in Florida. Call Sercombe Law today for a free consultation.
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