Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC
Drug Paraphernalia Charges in Colorado and Probable Cause
There are numerous types of drug crimes in Colorado. For example, possessing illegal drugs or possessing drug paraphernalia could lead to criminal charges. However, there are still rules police and prosecutors must follow with regards to drug charges if they hope to obtain a conviction.
While possessing drug paraphernalia in Colorado is illegal, police must still follow the rules of probable cause when it comes to a search and seizure. For example, if before conducting a search the police ask a person if they have a hypodermic needle or syringe that could injure the officer during a search and the answer is “yes” or if the accused volunteers this information, then the accused cannot be charged with possession of the needle or with drug possession for any miniscule amount of drugs remaining in the hypodermic needle or syringe.
However, as long as the initial stop was lawful, the fact that the accused admitted to having a hypodermic needle or syringe can be a factor when it comes establishing probable cause or reasonable suspicion that a crime is taking place. This is significant because while possessing drug paraphernalia is only a petty offense resulting in a fine of up to $100, it is possible that a lawful search and seizure could uncover evidence that may result in more serious criminal charges.
When police want to search a person or their vehicle, they do not have the unlimited power to do so. They must follow the law as it relates to probable cause and reasonable suspicion. Evidence obtained from an unlawful search and seizure cannot be used against the accused in any subsequent legal proceedings. Therefore, it is important for people in Colorado to understand their rights, so they can establish a solid criminal defense strategy.