Even non-users who have been exposed to the world of illicit drugs, or for that matter illicitly used prescription medication, probably know that many items used in connection with drugs are common or even everyday household items that have many other lawful purposes.
For example, under New York law, an electric scale or other item can lead to an accusation that the person who owns it is involved with illegal drugs. Specifically, she may face a charge of using drug paraphernalia. A first-time conviction for this crime is a misdemeanor, but subsequent convictions can be felonies and land a person in prison.
Scales are not the only thing that can lead to this type of charge. Possessing packing materials, certain chemicals and other supplies customarily used in the drug trade can also result in legal trouble for a White Plains, New York, resident.
When deciding whether to pursue a paraphernalia charge, police and prosecutors will focus heavily on the intention of the person who had the suspicious items. Naturally, this will involve some measure of speculation and guesswork on the part of law enforcement officials, as they obviously cannot read a person's mind in order to determine his intentions.
What this means is that sometimes even the most honest of police and prosecutors can misinterpret evidence in a way that makes it look like an innocent person is involved with drugs. Someone facing this predicament will want to have the help of an experienced criminal law attorney when telling her side of the story.
Moreover, as with other types of drug charges, the police must comply with the Constitution and all other laws that apply to their investigation. If they do not respect the rights of the citizens whom they are investigating, then their suspect may be able to demand that the evidence against them be disallowed.