Arrests for drug offenses are common and Georgia penalizes them harshly. What many people don’t realize, however, is that it’s not necessary to have drugs in your possession to be convicted of a drug offense. The consequences can be nearly as severe.
What are drug related objects?
Georgia Code Section 16-13-32.2 makes it illegal to possess or use anything related to a controlled substance. The object itself can be virtually anything, so long as its intended use is for an illicit purpose. Likewise, “relating” to a controlled substance means more than just consumption, like a pipe used for smoking. It includes everything from cultivating or manufacturing a drug to packaging or distributing the drug.
The law does not require that the object be on your person. Instead, it uses the word possession, which means that you exercise control over it – even if the object is not physically near you. Everyday items, such as spoons or paper, can qualify as drug related object under the right circumstances. As such, the circumstances surrounding an arrest for drug related objects become paramount.
In addition to proving that an individual possessed an item, the prosecution must also prove the individual intended to use it for an illicit purpose relating to a controlled substance. This can be difficult to do, since it requires getting into the mind of the person accused. What may appear to be criminal activity to a law enforcement agent may in fact be innocent conduct. This makes it a good area to target when coming up with a criminal defense strategy. Another area to target is search and seizure issues. Law enforcement personnel sometimes make mistakes when they conduct searches which reveal drug related object and these mistakes can be used to undermine the entire case.