Posted by Jim Yeargan in Atlanta DUI Law on November 23, 2016
Recently, a driver was arrested for drunk driving and possession of a drug-related object after driving recklessly on the Athens Perimeter. The motorist nearly collided with another vehicle before his car spun onto a nearby meridian. Georgia law enforcement observed that the driver had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. The motorist subsequently refused to submit to a breath test to determine his level of intoxication.
Law enforcement later determined that the man had a smoking pipe in his pocket along with a small amount of marijuana. The motorist was eventually charged with driving under the influence of multiple substances, possession of marijuana, and possession of a drug-related object.
Applicable Georgia Law
In the state of Georgia, it is against the law for an individual to use or possess with the intent to use any object or materials designed for drug-related purposes.
These purposes can include:
- inhaling, or
- in any other way introducing into the human body marijuana or a controlled substance.
Some of the various types of drug-related objects include pipes use for smoking drugs, rolling papers, bongs, scales, hypodermic syringes and needles, and balloons, envelopes, and other objects used to conceal drugs.
Actual and Constructive Possession
Individuals need not always directly own these types of drug-related objects in order to be considered to possess them. An individual can possess these objects through either actual or constructive possession. Actual possession is considered to exist when an individual has possession of the object on their person.
Constructive possession is considered to exist when an individual is aware of the object and has the ability to exercise control over the object. Either of actual or constructive possession will satisfy a possession of a drug-related object charge.
Law enforcement does not always have to catch an individual in the act of using or attempting to use a drug-related object to satisfy this charge. Some of the ways that opposing counsel can attempt to demonstrate that an individual used or intended to use a drug-related object include the existence of drug residue on the object or the object’s location close to illegal drugs. The intent to commit this crime is a requirement of these types of charges.
Defending Against These Charges
There are several ways in which individuals are able to defend against these types of charges, which include the following:
- Unlawful Search: Individuals are protected by the US Constitution against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. A skilled attorney can sometimes demonstrate that a search is illegal which can result in the suppression of drug paraphernalia.
- The Client Was Unaware of the Object: In constructive possession cases, knowledgeable attorneys are sometimes able to argue that an individual was unaware of the drug paraphernalia in question.
Contact a Skilled DUI Attorney
If you face possession of a drug-related object charge or any other type of charge related to driving under the influence of an illegal substance, you likely need to retain the services of a talented DUI attorney like the legal team at Yeargan & Kert, LLC who can create a strong defense in response to these types of charges.