Annapolis Drug Paraphernalia Charges
The discovery and prosecution of paraphernalia in Annapolis drug cases can often be a complex process. Both defining and understanding the charge can be difficult for the average person to grasp, making the assistance of an experienced attorney invaluable. Although not as severe as many other charges, it is still important to ensure that any drug charges against you are taken very seriously.
If you have been charged with such a crime, it is important to contact an Annapolis drug lawyer immediately. A knowledgeable attorney will best be able to help an individual understand the role of paraphernalia in Annapolis drug cases, and how to best handle their case in court.
Defining Drug Paraphernalia
Paraphernalia is anything that is used to store, manufacture, or use controlled dangerous substances. Pipes, needles, spoons, or scales would all be considered examples of paraphernalia that might be associated with controlled dangerous substances.
The most common types of paraphernalia with controlled dangerous substances are containers that hold these substances, or items that might be used to ingest or inhale the substance such as pipes and syringes.
Drug paraphernalia can be discovered in the same way that any other controlled dangerous substance is discovered. Usually, the search of a person’s home, vehicle, belongings, or person lead to the items being discovered, and the accused can ultimately be charged.
Annapolis penalizes people for possession of drug paraphernalia. Possession of drug paraphernalia is punishable with up to a $500 fine for first-time offenders. If a person is charged with possession of paraphernalia as a subsequent offender, the charge could be punishable by incarceration.
Most of the time, ignorance of the law is not a defense. However, it can be used to mitigate the circumstances and explain to the prosecutor why the charges could be dismissed, even if it was properly charged originally.
Severity of the Offense
Paraphernalia is a minor offense, so paraphernalia charges are not treated terribly seriously. However, there is case law in Maryland that allows prosecutors and officers to charge a person who is in possession of drug paraphernalia with possession of a controlled dangerous substance if they are able to find traces of residue on or inside the receptacle that was considered to be paraphernalia.
The types of paraphernalia can result in different sentencing, but only if they are charged accordingly. Generally, all drug paraphernalia is charged the same across the board and is penalized with a maximum penalty of $500. However, there are mutations of a paraphernalia statute and paraphernalia charges for subsequent offenders, which are more serious charges that can be punishable by incarceration.
Rights of the Accused
Under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, a person always has the right to refuse a search of their home, their person, their vehicle, and other belongings. If a person is asked to be searched, they should respectfully decline.
Police officers have other methods to search a person or their premises, such as a warrant or other kind of probable cause, but a person never has to consent to that search. Additionally, a person has a right to remain completely silent during the process.