Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott just signed the so-called “bong ban” that was introduced in the Florida legislature by drug addict-turned-drug warrior Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg. While the legislation The law carries stiff penalties for people who “knowingly and intentionally” sell marijuana devices, saying that a person has to “knowingly and intentionally” sell a pipe for illegal drug use to get arrested for a criminal misdemeanor. A second offense will lead to a third degree felony. That means a smoke shop owner or employee has to know without a doubt that the person they sell to intends to buy a pipe for drug use. They can still sell pipes for tobacco purposes only.
All across Florida, there are stores and shops that sell smoking devices such as pipes, bongs, face-masks, vaporizers, and other contraptions that, when used in conjunction with an illegal substance, can get one high. However, possessing such a device can also get one a possession of drug paraphernalia charge as well.
The crime of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Florida is very broad in nature, and one can be charged with the offense simply if one possesses any item that is found to be Drug Paraphernalia. In order to be properly convicted of drug paraphernalia charges, the State must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
– One has equipment, product, or material that is
– Used, intended to be used, or designed to be used
– In the planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body
– Of an illegal or controlled substance.
One of the most common scenarios is a traffic stop that leads into a subsequent arrest for drug paraphernalia. Many teenagers smoke marijuana and then go hang out with their friends, sometimes driving around with a bowl or roach clip under the seat or in the center console. The police then stop one or one’s friend, see the drug paraphernalia, and arrest both for drug paraphernalia. In these all too common situations, if one obtains an experienced Jacksonville drug crimes defense attorney to fight the case, the State should not be able to properly convict one of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia because even though one may have known the friend smoked pot, one did not know the drug paraphernalia was present, and one’s friend is the only person who exercised dominion and control over it.
One in a situation such as this should obtain an experienced Jacksonville drug crimes defense attorney when fighting Florida’s drug crime laws. Unfortunately, the police mishandle the evidence, making the evidence worthy of being excluded, making a drug paraphernalia charge hard to prove if there is no pipe as admissible evidence. If one is under investigation or has been arrested on drug charges, one will need to obtain an experienced Jacksonville drug crimes defense attorney to fight the case.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Florida ‘Bong Ban’ Passes, Doesn’t Really Ban Bongs All That Much, Huffington Post