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What is drug paraphernalia?

Crimes relating to drugs can be complex and sometimes confusing. Ohio residents may know that possessing and selling nonprescription drugs is a drug crime under both federal and state law, but they may not know that it is also possible for charges to ensue if someone possesses material related to those drugs. According to the law, it is illegal for someone to sell or offer for sale, import or export or use the mail or interstate commerce to distribute drug paraphernalia. So what is drug paraphernalia?

It is basically a term that that is used to describe items used in connection with illegal drugs-either for ingesting drugs or distributing them. The distinction is important because some household items can also be used for distributing and consuming drugs, such as scales and even spoons. Federal laws go as far as to give examples of drug paraphernalia. For example, pipes, water pipes, bongs, roach clips and freebase cocaine kits are all included within the law as paraphernalia.

In addition to considering logically relevant factors when determining if something is paraphernalia or not, there are other factors law enforcement officials are supposed to look at. This includes the instructions, either written or oral, about the use of the item and descriptive materials outlining the use of the item. They can also consider the scope and existence of legitimate uses of that item and expert testimony considering its use.

One of the things law enforcement officials can consider when charging someone is looking at the context of the item's use in the community-this means if someone can demonstrate that they were authorized to possess the item, they could have a valid defense. There are other ways to defend oneself against drug charges, and an experienced attorney may be able to gather the relevant evidence to prove one's case.

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