Can you accidentally possess drug paraphernalia?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

As you probably know, many Americans struggle with addiction to controlled substances. You might not realize, though, that drug addiction is a medical condition. Indeed, according to Indiana University Health, addiction is a chronic brain disease that changes the way the brain functions.

The law has been slow to catch up with modern science and medicine, unfortunately. Indeed, rather than helping those who struggle with drug addiction, the law often punishes them for possessing drugs and even for having drug-related items. Luckily, though, you cannot accidentally possess drug paraphernalia.

What is drug paraphernalia?

Indiana’s criminal statutes have a broad definition of “drug paraphernalia.” Simply put, anything you can use to ingest, manufacture or distribute controlled substances can fall within the definition. This includes ordinary household items, such as spoons, kitchen scales and food bags.

Why can you not accidentally possess drug paraphernalia?

In your home, you undoubtedly have some items you could use for drug-related purposes. These items are not drug paraphernalia when you use them for legal or innocent reasons, however. In fact, to violate Indiana’s paraphernalia law, you must use or intend to use items for drug-associated reasons.

How can you use intent to your advantage?

Police officers and prosecutors sometimes see the world in a jaded way. As a result, you might face criminal charges for possessing drug paraphernalia. If your intention is not to use items to make, use or distribute drugs, though, you are likely to have a solid defense.

Ultimately, because paraphernalia charges can lead to a life-changing conviction, it is important to evaluate all possible defenses and any other legal options you have.