Possession of drug paraphernalia is against the law in Indiana. State laws define drug paraphernalia as items used to ingest, enhance or test drugs. The use of a pipe to smoke marijuana, crack cocaine, or using a needle to inject controlled substances would constitute paraphernalia possession. Also, Indiana law is clear that even if the drugs are no longer in your system or you claim the item such as a crack pipe is not yours, if it's in your possession you can be charged. Fighting such a charge without an attorney is not advisable, but a layman can take some steps to contest the charges. To prove a charge of paraphernalia possession, the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly and intentionally possessed the item and that the items sole commercial use was to facilitate the use of illegal drugs.
Because this is a citation offense, most offenders plead no contest and pay the ticket cost and court fines. Speak with a lawyer if you are want to challenge the charge.
File a motion to suppress the evidence against you on the grounds of illegal or questionable search. In Indiana, the police officer must have a reasonable suspicion of an overt act before searching your car, home or person. This relates to paraphernalia possession because if the item is not in plain site then the item itself can not be the basis for the search.
Demand the prosecution prove that the items were actually in your possession. If your were driving your sister's car and police find a pipe under the seat then prosecutors must establish a reasonable relationship and knowledge of the item on your part.
File a motion asking the court to toss the charge because the item is used in relation to the use of tobacco. Indiana paraphernalia laws have a clear exemption for items connected to tobacco use. So if papers that are sold and marketed as cigarette rolling papers are found it can be argued that despite the common use of such paper for rolling marijuana, Indiana laws state such items are not drug paraphernalia.
Discuss with the prosecution any possible options to lessen the charges, get probation or possible entrance in a diversion program.
Get a lawyer, especially if it is your first offense. Indiana prosecutors have wide discretion and have added on to many paraphernalia possession charges a charge for being "present where knowledge of drug activity took place."
Paraphernalia possession in Indiana is a citation misdemeanor with jail time up to six months and up to a $1,000 fine.
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