Miami Drug Paraphernalia Attorney
Drug crimes are vigorously prosecuted in Florida, including the possession or use of drug paraphernalia. Whether the object is a pipe, bong, rolling papers, a syringe, or other similar devices, possession of drug paraphernalia is a first-degree misdemeanor. While this seems like a minor charge, a conviction could lead to jail time, fines and a permanent criminal record. If you have been arrested for the possession of drug paraphernalia, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner.
Valiente, Carollo, and McElligot PLLC has a proven track record of handling drug crimes, including the possession of drug paraphernalia, in South Florida. Our criminal defense attorneys know how to build a strong defense and can help you fight the charges. When you become our client, you will have confidence knowing that we are in your corner.
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What is drug paraphernalia?
Under Florida law, drug paraphernalia is generally defined as any equipment, products, materials or tools used, intended for use, or designed for use, to inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance. Common items considered drug paraphernalia include:
- Rolling papers
- Roach clips
- Crack pipes
- Water pipes
- Syringes or hypodermic needles
- Cocaine spoons
In addition, drug paraphernalia includes any items used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain or conceal a controlled substance, such as:
- Hydroponic equipment
- Chemicals used to manufacture meth
It is worth noting that possession of drug paraphernalia often accompanies drug-related charges such as possession of marijuana or possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. As an example, if the police find marijuana stored in a plastic bag, the individual could be charged with both possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
What is “possession” under Florida law?
Generally, there are two types of possession, actual possession, and constructive possession:
- Actual possession — The drug paraphernalia is in the hand of or on the person of the defendant, or within ready reach and under the control of the defendant.
- Constructive possession — The drug paraphernalia is in a place where the defendant either has control over or concealed the item. To prove constructive possession in cases where the defendant does not have control, there must be evidence that the defendant had control of the paraphernalia and knowledge that it was there.
In addition, joint possession charges may arise when two or more persons jointly possess an article, with the ability to control it. If a person does not have exclusive possession of paraphernalia, however knowledge of its presence may not be inferred or assumed.
Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Florida
Possession or use of drug paraphernalia is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail or 12 months probation, and a $1,000 fine. A defendant on probation will be required to submit to random drug testing and may also be required to participate in a drug evaluation and treatment program.
Defenses to Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charges
Being arrested for possession or use of drug paraphernalia does not mean that a conviction is inevitable. Our legal team knows how to assert a number of defenses, starting with whether the search conducted by police was lawful. If the police obtained a search warrant in bad faith, the evidence may not be admissible in court. In addition, if the dwelling or vehicle where the item was found was accessed by multiple parties, we can show that the paraphernalia belonged to somebody else.
Depending on the circumstances, it may also be possible to argue that the item had multiple purposes and that it was used for a legal purpose. In determining whether the item was drug paraphernalia the court will instruct the jury to consider the following factors:
- Statements made by the owner or an individual in control of an object concerning its use
- The proximity of the object to controlled substances
- The existence of any residue of a controlled substance on the object
- Instructions provided with the object concerning its use
- Any advertising concerning its use or the manner in which it is displayed for sale
- Whether the owner is a legitimate supplier or distributor of related objects (e.g. a licensed distributor of or dealer in tobacco products)
- Expert testimony concerning its use
Contact Our Miami Drug Paraphernalia Attorney
At Valiente, Carollo, and McElligot PLLC, we recognize that a conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious matter. Given that these charges often arise in conjunction with other drug crimes, it is critically important to have aggressive legal representation. Our legal team will conduct an extensive investigation, including reviewing the police report to uncover potential mistakes or violations of your civil rights by law enforcement.
Depending on the circumstances, we may also seek a reduction of the charges. We have extensive experience defending clients against a wide range of drug crimes and will work to help you avoid a conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Contact our office as soon as possible to speak with our attorneys.
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Miami Drug Paraphernalia Attorney