Georgia treats drug crimes seriously, devoting a great deal of time and resources toward investigating and prosecuting them. Being arrested and convicted of a drug crime can have serious consequences for you and your future. And what many don’t realize is that those consequences can come not just from the drugs themselves but also from the paraphernalia associated with drugs.
Drug related objects
Section 16-13-32.2 of the Georgia Code makes it illegal to use any object or material for the consumption, cultivation, manufacture, containment or concealment of marijuana or any controlled substance. This is a separate crime from the use of the drug itself and can be charged as an additional offense. For instance, it is illegal to use methamphetamine and doing so can be charged as a crime. Using a pipe to consume the methamphetamine is a completely separate and distinct crime.
In addition to using the object, it is illegal to possess the object or material with the intent to use it for consumption, cultivation, manufacture, containment or concealment. To violate this prohibition, an individual does not even have to possess marijuana or any controlled substance – it can be sufficient to possess the object by itself. What is critical is the intent of the individual who possessed it.
Defenses against drug related objects
Because an object does not need to be possessed along with the drug itself, the intended use of the object becomes critical and subject to interpretation. The burden of proof is on the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual intended to use the object for an illegal purpose. The individual does not have to prove that they intended to use the object for a legal purpose. Accordingly, the charge can often be defended by showing that the state lacks sufficient evidence to prove the necessary intent.
Furthermore, alleged drug related objects are often found during the search of a person or vehicle. But searches are frequently conducted incorrectly and in violation of the law. When this happens, any evidence, including the object itself, can be excluded from evidence, making the charge impossible to prove.