Rights During a Richmond Drug Paraphernalia Investigation

Paraphernalia is defined by Virginia Code Section 18.2-265.1. That code section says that paraphernalia is all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are either designed for use or which are intended by the person charged for use in the planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, strength-testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, sealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body marijuana or a controlled substance. Paraphernalia is anything at all that can be used in any way at all to either put drugs in the body or produce drugs outside the body.

Normally, paraphernalia is discovered by officers who are performing stops on the street, serving warrants on college students’ homes or walking up to college kids because they smell marijuana. Detectives would not be involved in the investigation of crimes of this nature. Normally, it is a low-level officer, VCU police, or campus police. In Richmond, it is often the campus police that finds drug paraphernalia. If you have been charged with a drug paraphernalia offense, consult a capable drug paraphernalia attorney that could protect your rights during a Richmond drug paraphernalia investigation.

Examples of Drug Paraphernalia

Anything can count as drug paraphernalia so long as the Commonwealth can prove that at the time that the person possessed what they are trying to say is paraphernalia, the possessor intended to use the item to assist with the use or manufacture of marijuana or a controlled substance.

Examples of paraphernalia are things such as:

  • Syringes
  • Smoking devices
  • Spoons for heating and melting heroin and cocaine
  • Pots to grow marijuana
  • Grinders
  • Empty capsules
  • Baggies for bagging drugs

Rights During a Drug Paraphernalia Investigation

People have many rights during a Richmond drug paraphernalia investigation, but the two biggest rights are a person’s Fourth Amendment rights and the Fifth Amendment rights. These rights protect individuals from unlawful searches and from incriminating themselves. The violation of a person’s constitutional rights could be used when building that person’s defense, in order to question the validity of the evidence that the police used.

Fourth Amendment Rights

The Fourth Amendment protects people illegal searches and seizures. If police officers approach someone to stop and search them, the officers must have reasonable suspicion that crime is afoot, or have probable cause to arrest them. If they do not have either of those things, then the police are violating an individual’s constitutional rights. If an officer approaches someone and the person realizes that they have a grinder in their pocket, then it might be better for the person to walk away and not engage with the officer. They should not stop and talk if they do not have to. Furthermore, if the officer asks to search the individual but does not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion, the individual does not have to consent to a search.

Fifth Amendment Rights

The Fifth Amendment protects a person’s right to remain silent. That right allows an individual to protect themselves from self-incrimination. When someone is dealing with a paraphernalia case, they have to remember that the Commonwealth has to prove at that the time the person possessed the item, that they intended to use it in some way, shape or form with drugs, and that it was a controlled substance or marijuana, which means they were going to use it to smoke, inject, or sell it. People sometimes accidentally implicate themselves by admitting that the paraphernalia is theirs. If the person does not say anything, the chances of being charged go down substantially, because the police officers and the Commonwealth would not be able to prove that they were using that item in the furtherance of any kind of controlled substance activity. If someone wants to protect their rights during a Richmond drug paraphernalia investigation, staying silent and asking for a lawyer are their best options.

Consulting a Richmond Drug Paraphernalia Attorney

If you have been charged with a drug paraphernalia offense and do not know what your next steps should be, ask for a lawyer. Asserting your right to an attorney is one of the best ways to protect your rights during a Richmond drug paraphernalia investigation. Your lawyer could help you avoid incriminating yourself, and advocate for you. They can examine the facts of your case and could devote the time and resources necessary to build a solid defense for you.

Richmond Drug Paraphernalia Lawyer