Under Pennsylvania law, there is a statute that prohibits possessing anything for:
“The use of, or possession with intent to use, drug paraphernalia for the purpose of planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this act.”
It may seem like a statute that encompasses a lot of circumstances and items – and it does. Still, what must be understood is that while many different items may seemingly “fit” under the statutes verbiage – the Commonwealth still has the burden to prove that the alleged drug paraphernalia was exactly that – drug paraphernalia.
How do they do that and what does it really mean? There is case law that states the Commonwealth must prove a specific intent that the item possessed or delivered was to be used with controlled substances.
Now, what does this mean – practically speaking?
The Commonwealth must provide more than the item itself. They must prove that there was the intent to use the item with/for/etc. a controlled substance. Further, a skilled criminal defense attorney should cross-examine the Commonwealth witnesses and potentially point out legal uses for the items claimed to be drug paraphernalia.
While there are many cases where there is other circumstantial or corroborative evidence that the item claimed to be drug paraphernalia was in fact just that – the law must be understood, and a knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense attorney will be aware of what the law requires and make sure the Commonwealth is made to meet its burden fully and completely.