When most people think about drug crimes, they tend to think of offenses such as drug possession or the selling of drugs to other people. Rarely do people think about the fact that the mere possession of drug paraphernalia may lead to charges or a conviction. However, criminal penalties may result for defendants who are caught with drug paraphernalia in their car or on their person. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, Milwaukee drug crime lawyer William J. Reddin can assist people who are facing drug paraphernalia charges, building a strong defense for them and strategizing to protect their rights.Drug Paraphernalia Offenses in Wisconsin
Drug paraphernalia takes many forms, but it generally constitutes the various accessories that people may use to take drugs or to make drugs. These include items like pipes, bongs, needles, and other devices. Technically, under the Wisconsin statutes, any paraphernalia that an individual uses to “plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, replace, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, or inhale” a controlled substance may result in charges.
To secure a conviction based on the possession of drug paraphernalia, the state must show not only that the defendant had the paraphernalia but also that he or she intended to use it for an illegal purpose. In other words, the defendant must have been in actual possession of an item, the item must have been drug paraphernalia, and the intent of the possession must have been to ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the body a controlled substance. This type of charge is a misdemeanor, resulting in up to 30 days in jail and $500 in fines.Defending Against Paraphernalia Charges
Since paraphernalia charges are relatively minor and are often accompanied by more significant charges, such as drug possession or drug trafficking, they are frequently the subject of plea deals by the government. Thus, the prosecution may offer you a lesser punishment in exchange for simply pleading guilty to the charge rather than defending against it. While this may be advantageous for defendants in some situations, people who are innocent of the charges should consider mounting a vigorous defense.
A common defense against paraphernalia charges is that a defendant did not intend to use the items in his or her possession to ingest or inhale a controlled substance. Perhaps the defendant was holding them for a friend, or perhaps the defendant meant to use a pipe to inhale tobacco, a legal substance. Many arguments may be made to prevent the prosecution from meeting the intent requirement for a drug paraphernalia conviction. Alternatively, you may be able to argue that the items were obtained as a result of an illegal search of your person or your property, and evidence of them should not be allowed at trial, or the police used unlawful tactics before undertaking a search of your property.Consult a Drug Crime Lawyer in the Milwaukee Area
While drug paraphernalia charges will not result in years of jail time or hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, they do create a criminal record, making it more difficult to find a job or pursue an education. If you are facing prosecution for this offense, you should speak with a Milwaukee drug crime attorney as soon as possible. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, we understand Wisconsin’s drug paraphernalia laws and how to fight back against charges. Criminal defense attorney William J. Reddin can fight to clear your record and your reputation. Contact us at (414) 271-6400 or online to set up a free consultation. We also represent defendants in Mequon, Racine, West Bend, Waukesha, and other areas of Racine, Washington, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties.