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Caution: Drug paraphernalia can be almost anything

There is no such thing as a minor drug charge. Any criminal allegation brought in West Virginia or Pennsylvania can lead to a tough sentence in the event of a conviction, and the burden of a criminal record can overshadow the time line of your life for years into the future.

What can trigger a drug charge can be surprising to those who don't have experience in dealing with such things. Possession, trafficking and dealing charges are perhaps the ones that are most commonly understood and expected. But even having some rather common things in your possession could result in a person facing drug paraphernalia charges.

The definition of what constitutes paraphernalia is such that almost anything could get tagged as such. The West Virginia code on this subject offers a glimpse at what we mean. The listing of examples of possible paraphernalia is long and the language used provides officials a great deal of possible enforcement latitude.

Outlawed items include kits "designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting" any controlled substance plant. Look around your nearest garden center and you'll find something that would fit that description.

Another common item you can pick up nearly anywhere is a scale or balance set. Having one doesn't mean you're a drug dealer, but possession of one could prompt a drug charge.

One other definition outlaws "blenders, bowls, containers, spoons and mixing devices." They don't have to have been used for making controlled substances. They merely have to be intended or designed for such use. Who decides that?

Even displaying a pipe "in the proximity of roach clips" could bring a criminal charge.

Purported evidence is one thing. Proving an allegation is another. Protecting your rights is essential. When initial consultation is free, it's worth the time to speak with an attorney.

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Law Office of P. Zachary Stewart
3169 Main Street
Suite A
Weirton, WV 26062

Phone: 304-914-3577
Fax: 304-212-7919
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