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How is possession of drug paraphernalia determined?

Ohioans who are arrested for drug offenses do not necessarily have to have the actual drug on them to face charges. They can also face legal issues because of the possession of drug paraphernalia. Many of the items that are used in conjunction with drugs are of the basic household variety for which there is a perfectly rational explanation for having them. Understanding how law enforcement and the courts can determine whether an item is classified as drug paraphernalia can be the key to a case and lodging a successful defense when placed under arrest.

The officer or the court will assess any statement that was made by an owner or anyone who was in control of the material, equipment or product as to how it is used. The location of the items or that act that was linked to it and whether that was a violation of the drug laws will be considered. The proximity of the item to the controlled substance will play a role. The equipment will be tested to see if there is residue of a controlled substance and a determination can be made based on that.

It is also possible that direct or circumstantial evidence as to the intent of the owner of the item can be factored in when alleged drug offenses lead to an arrest. There might be instructions in oral or written form detailing how the equipment is to be used and that can influence the assessment. Advertisements as to the utility of the equipment can be considered. How the items are displayed and promoted is important. The business enterprise itself and if the ratio of sales is reasonable based on the business. If there are other uses for the equipment, this is part of the decision-making process. Finally, expert testimony on the product will help law enforcement and the courts come to a decision.

For those who have been arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, there can be serious consequences if there is a conviction. Having legal assistance in defending against drug charges is vital to the case and is the first call that should be made.

Source: codes.ohio.gov, "2925.14 Illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia -- (B)," accessed on June 20, 2017

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