Mifflin County Drug Paraphernalia Case - Baggy Was Not Paraphernalia

Drug Paraphernalia Charge Requires Evidence of Presence of Drugs

By Jason Dunkle on G+

The Mifflin County client was stopped by the police for driving on a suspended license. The police had him exit the car and then conducted a pat-down search of the client. The search of the client led to the discovery of a small baggy. The police believed that the client was a heroin user, so the police suspected that the baggy contained heroin residue and therefore was drug paraphernalia. The client adamantly denied that the baggy ever contained drugs and thereby could not be drug paraphernalia.

The client was charged in Mifflin County with Driving Under Suspension, in violation of 75 Pa.C.S. 1543, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, in violation of 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(32). The client was initially represented by a criminal defense attorney that recommended that the client plead guilty to both charges.

The client then retained State College criminal defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle. Attorney Dunkle contacted the Mifflin County District Attorney's Office and requested copies of the lab reports from the State Police Forensic Testing Laboratory that tested the baggy for heroin residue. The lab reports actually evidenced that no drug residue was found in the baggy. Attorney Dunkle filed a pretrial motion that sought suppression of evidence based upon the warrantless search and also a dismissal of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge because the lab report did not evidence that the baggy was used to store or package drugs. The Mifflin County judge scheduled a hearing on the defense attorney's suppression and dismissal motions. The district attorney then agreed to withdraw the misdemeanor charge of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.