Objects You Never Thought Could Lead To Drug Paraphernalia Charges In Florida
It should come as no surprise to learn that possession, trafficking, manufacturing, and other activities related to controlled substances are against the law. However, Florida also criminalizes certain acts involving drug paraphernalia, and the penalties can be severe if you are convicted of unlawful conduct. Worse, many of the items listed in the statute are common household goods and consumer products that you never expected could be criminal in nature. You could be arrested on drug paraphernalia charges, a First Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.
Therefore, if you were charged with illegal conduct, it is critical to retain a Fort Lauderdale drug paraphernalia lawyer who will defend your rights. You might also benefit from reviewing some of the objects you never thought could lead to an arrest.
Florida’s Expansive Definition of Drug Paraphernalia
The law specifically bans the use or possession with intent to use any item for the following purposes:
- Production of controlled substances, including planting, growing, manufacturing, testing, or storing, and processing; and
- Consumption of drugs, such as by injection, ingesting, or other introducing into the human body.
If an item could be used to further either of these purposes, it could be considered drug paraphernalia. As such, the definition is extremely broad to cover almost any object. Plastic baggies, a kitchen scale, and fertilizer are often used for drug manufacturing; many people use spoons, a razor blade, and rolling papers to consume drugs. However, these items are also present in your home for plenty of entirely lawful reasons.
Other Drug Paraphernalia Charges
It is also against the law to manufacture drug paraphernalia, an act that could lead to an arrest on Third Degree Felony charges. A conviction may mean up to five years’ incarceration. Second Degree Felony applies to delivering drug paraphernalia to a minor; if convicted, you face up to 15 years in prison.
Defenses to Florida Drug Paraphernalia Charges
Because there is overlap between household objects and items that constitute drug paraphernalia, there are many opportunities to fight the allegations. The standard is proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a heavy burden for the government. By presenting evidence of the dual-use nature of an item, you could raise questions in the minds of the jurors and gain an acquittal. Plus, intent is an essential element of the crime, so there must be evidence of your state of mind for the jury to convict.
Additional defense options may include:
- Contesting claims of constructive possession;
- Seeking a dismissal of the charges due to unlawful search and seizure by police; and
- Mistake about the illegal nature of the item.
Speak to a Florida Drug Paraphernalia Attorney About Defense Strategies
Considering the expansive definition of what constitutes a violation of the law, you will need skilled legal help to fight drug paraphernalia charges. For more information on defense options, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We can set up a confidential consultation to review your situation and determine next steps.