Drug Paraphernalia Charge in Violent Traffic Stop

On October 28th, a mother traveling through New Mexico with her five children was fired upon by police during a traffic stop. The incident occurred when Oriana Ferrell, a Tennessee resident, was pulled over for speeding. The woman refused to cooperate with police and an officer fired three shots into the vehicle, where her kids, aged 6 to 18, were sitting. None of the children were injured.

The details of the incident include Ferrell pulling to the side of the road several times, her son confronting officers, and a window of the vehicle being smashed in. Due to the police violence involved in the case, it may be difficult to pursue charges against Ferrell.

Ferrell faces charges of child abuse, fleeing an officer, and possession of drug paraphernalia. An investigation is being launched into the actions of the officers on the scene. Currently Ferrell is being held on bail.

The drug paraphernalia charges are a result of the officer’s finding two marijuana pipes inside the vehicle after arresting Ferrell. There is dispute over whether she had been previously convicted of a DUI charge, but in either case she faces serious consequences for all of these offenses.

In Ohio, a charge for possessing drug paraphernalia sometimes accompanies a charge of driving while under the influence of drugs. If convicted of a paraphernalia charge, an offender faces the possibility of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250, but these penalties may be increased based on the offender’s prior criminal history.

Drug paraphernalia is defined by Ohio Revised Code 2925.14 as any equipment, products, or materials designed with the intention of using illegal drugs.  Common examples include bongs, syringes, water pipes, plastic baggies, and scales. Even if the item in question was temporarily placed in an area that you are responsible for, such as the glove box of your car or your pocket, you may still be held liable for its possession. The presence of paraphernalia can lead to officer’s obtaining a warrant to search your belongings for drugs.

A charge of possessing drug paraphernalia can easily come from a misunderstanding, but it can have a lasting impact of the alleged offender’s future. Any drug-related charge can interfere with employment and education opportunities. Those facing a charge for possession or distributing drug paraphernalia can contact an attorney for a better chance at defending themselves against this allegation.

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