The term “drug paraphernalia” is broad. It includes anything that someone could use to use or distribute drugs. This means that the police can use ordinary, everyday objects as evidence to make an arrest.
In Tennessee, penalties for drug paraphernalia crimes are steep. They can range from misdemeanor offenses to outright felonies.
If you’ve been accused of possessing drug paraphernalia, here are some defense strategies you can discuss with your attorney.
You Are Not the Owner
Police can use flimsy evidence to link someone to illegal goods. For instance, imagine the police are searching your apartment, and they find alleged paraphernalia in the kitchen. Without making any further inquiries, they arrest you for possession. Whey they fail to realize is that the questionable items could belong to your roommate.
Simply being near an item does not make you the owner of that item. You can use this mistaken ownership to help you maintain your innocence.
You Were Unaware of the Paraphernalia
Even if you do have something illegal on your person, you still may not be the owner of that item. Often, people who borrow something are not aware of everything that item contains. For instance, imagine you borrowed your friend’s car and get pulled over for speeding. The cops search the vehicle, finding paraphernalia in the glove box.
In a situation like this, the fact that you do not own the car could be a strong defense against your charges.
There Was No Intent
Any good criminal prosecution contains the element of intent. In theory, it is not enough for someone to break the law by accident. The prosecution must also prove that the defendant knew what they were doing, and they had unscrupulous motives.
When it comes to drug paraphernalia charges, it can be easy to prove a lack of intent. Perhaps you have an online store, selling harmless, completely legal items. All your baggies, weights, and so forth could be a part of that business, having nothing to do with drugs. Even something more obvious like a hash pipe is disputable. Maybe you use it only for pipe tobacco.
Remember, sowing uncertainty is one of the most important parts of a good defense. Conviction must come only from guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If you and your attorney can create any doubt in your charges, you may be able to walk free.
The Buyer Had Intent, Not You
Once you sell an item, you have no control over how the purchaser uses it. Imagine you run an online store, selling storage products. Part of your inventory could be little baggies, often used in the drug trade. People from all walks of life, however, also buy and use these items for various purposes.
You should not be held responsible for how your merchandise is used. If the buyer used your product as paraphernalia, this is not your fault, and it does not make you a part of the drug trade.
Our firm is here to help those who’ve been accused of possession of drug paraphernalia. If you need a good defense, we may be able to take you on as a client. Schedule time with us online or call us now at (931) 361-4477.