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How state law criminalizes drug paraphernalia

The term “drug paraphernalia” might seem unclear to many people in the state of Connecticut. What does it refer to? Generally, drug paraphernalia is any object that can be used to ingest illicit substances or to produce and prepare them. Drug paraphernalia can encompass a lot of different objects and tools. Some people may fear that the police might mistake an object in their possession as qualifying as drug paraphernalia.

Why would anyone be concerned about possibly being arrested for drug paraphernalia? The answer is because some common objects that have perfectly legal use can be used for drug production. Findlaw points out that objects like syringes, needles, balloons and plastic bags can be considered paraphernalia since they can be used to inject drugs or assist in the production of illicit substances. Some spoons can also be utilized for cocaine use, although these spoons are often miniature in size.

However, Connecticut state law does not criminalize mere possession of legitimate objects and devices that can also be misused for drug use. The Connecticut Judicial Branch website points out that juries must use three specific criteria to convict someone of the crime of possessing drug paraphernalia. First, the person must knowingly have possessed paraphernalia. Secondly, the person must have intended to use the paraphernalia in a situation where it could be used to manufacture the drug. Finally, the paraphernalia must have been intended for use or was used for the preparation of drugs.

In other words, no one should be convicted of paraphernalia possession if that person honestly did not intend to use the suspected paraphernalia for drug usage or manufacturing. It is the state’s task to establish that an individual possessed an object knowing that it was in fact drug paraphernalia and was aware of its potential use with illicit substances. Also, the paraphernalia should be located in a place where drugs can be mixed, compounded or processed in any fashion. There is a big difference between storing spoons in your kitchen and having them in a room where cocaine is present.

No one should have to fear accidently being charged with drug paraphernalia. By law, intent and context are the determining factors in whether a Connecticut jury should convict a person of paraphernalia possession.  

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