Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a drug paraphernalia offense in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio criminal defense attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your drug charge.
Possession or Use of Drug Paraphernalia Under Ohio Law
Possessing drug paraphernalia in Ohio can result in your arrest. It does not matter that drugs were not found. Pursuant to ORC 2925.14, it is illegal to possess equipment, products or materials that were created with the intention of drug use behind them. Common items that fall under this prohibition include:
- A scale used to weigh controlled substances.
- An object or device (i.e., water pipes, bongs, etc.) used to ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body marijuana, cocaine, etc.
- A hypodermic needle or syringe to inject a controlled substance into the body.
- Envelopes and containers for packaging of drugs.
- Separation gin or sift for removing seeds and twigs from marijuana.
Penalties for Drug Paraphernalia in Ohio
Use or possession of drug paraphernalia in Ohio is a 4th degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum 30 days in jail and $250 fine. If a person sells or possesses with the purpose to sell drug paraphernalia, the penalty is a 2nd degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum 90 days in jail and $750 fine. Selling drug paraphernalia to a minor is a 1st degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine.
What Courts and Law Enforcement Consider
Courts and law enforcement consider, under ORC 2925.14(B), the following factors in determining whether a particular piece of equipment, product or material is drug paraphernalia:
- Statements by the owner concerning its use.
- Proximity of the equipment, product or material to any controlled substance.
- The existence of any residue of a controlled substance on the equipment, product or material.
- Instructions provided with the equipment, product or material.
- The existence and scope of legitimate uses of the equipment, product or material.
- Expert testimony concerning the use of the equipment, product or material.
Possible Defenses Under Ohio Law for Drug Paraphernalia
The circumstances of the case will dictate the possible defenses you can raise. Several possible defenses exist, including lack of reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle, law enforcement not honoring your 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure and lack of a warrant.
Before the police can pull over your vehicle, they must be able to establish a reasonable suspicion that your committed a traffic or criminal violation. If law enforcement pulls you over, searches your vehicle, and finds marijuana or drug paraphernalia, the defense of lack of reasonable suspicion could be raised. If the police lacked reasonable suspicion that you have committed a traffic or criminal violation, the case could be thrown out of court.
Unreasonable Search and Seizure
This defense could apply in a situation where the police stop and ask you questions. An example of this can be found in a recent Ohio Court of Appeals case, State v. Boswell, where a police officer stopped two men and asked them for identification. After cooperating, the officer asked them to submit to a search of their persons. The officer wished to search them because they looked “nervous” and his “cop radar” told him something was wrong.
The Ohio Court of Appeals found that the search was unconstitutional because there was nothing to suggest that the defendant violated or was about to violate the law. Thus, the police officer violated the defendant’s constitutional rights and the case was thrown out of court.
Lack of a Warrant
Generally, law enforcement is required to have a warrant before they can search your person, car, house, etc. However, the Ohio Supreme Court has recognized 7 exceptions to this warrant requirement:
- Exigent Circumstances
- Hot Pursuit
- Probable Cause to Search
- Search Incident to Lawful Arrest
- Consent Signifying Waiver of Constitutional Rights
If one of these seven exceptions does not apply, and the police conducted a search without a warrant, the search may have violated your constitutional rights.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Drug Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with use or possession of drug paraphernalia, take the important step of consulting an attorney to insure that you are in the best possible position to defend against this charge. Use or possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious charge that can impact not only your freedom, but your current and future employment.
Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC is an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio drug attorney who can help you deal with this stressful moment in your life. If you have been arrested for use or possession of drug paraphernalia, contact Johnson Legal, LLC to schedule a consultation. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email if you or someone you know has been charged. For further information, consult Johnson Legal, LLC’s drug offense blog.