The federal and Mississippi state governments have laws outlying numerous substances, ranging from marijuana to heroin. Anyone who gets caught in possession of prohibited substances will face arrest and likely criminal charges.
There are also laws prohibiting paraphernalia, which is a word used to describe items that help facilitate or hide drug use. When people think of paraphernalia, they may think of water pipes or torch lighters. The state or the federal government can bring separate or supplemental charges against you if they find paraphernalia in your possession in addition to the drugs. Of course, not all drug paraphernalia play the role in drug consumption.
There are two kinds of paraphernalia that do not play a direct role in drug use that could lead to much worse criminal charges for someone accused of possessing a prohibited substance.
Scales used for weighing drugs
Federal drug enforcement agencies recognize digital scales and even manual postage scales as paraphernalia frequently used in drug transactions. Someone engaged in trafficking drugs to individuals would use such scales to confirm that they are about to transfer the amount someone requested.
While those who purchase and use prohibited drugs would also need scales to validate that they get what they paid for, police might use the presence of a scale as grounds to claim you possessed those drugs with the intent to traffic them to others. They can then charge you with a more serious crime instead of simple possession.
Items that could serve as individual packaging
Another seemingly harmless category of drug paraphernalia is individual packaging. Sandwich baggies, empty prescription medication vials or even single-use plastic straws are all objects that people can repurpose when they distribute drugs to others.
If you have items that police officers think you would use to repackage the drugs found in your possession, they might use that or any skills you have as justification to charge you with a trafficking offense or a possession with intent to distribute charge.
People can defend themselves by providing a different explanation for items that imply criminal activity or even challenging the inclusion of certain evidence in their trials. Understanding why officers charged you with drug trafficking instead of just possession can help you decide the best defense strategy when you go to court.