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CrimDefense, CriminalDefenseAtty
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  10+ years defending Misdemeanor and Felony cases.
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A young man was issued a criminal complaint and summons on

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A young man was issued a criminal complaint and summons on a college campus in Delaware for possession of drug paraphernalia. He was told he will get a date for a hearing unless the case is dismissed. How are these cases normally handled?

It was his first offense, and he had no marijuana on him. He only had a cigarette lighter, but others he was with had marijuana.
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good morning. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. The young man can certainly have a legal defense, if he only had a lighter on his person. It is hard to claim that it would be consider drug paraphernalia, when there are many other uses and needs for it and carrying a lighter is no illegal. Had he been caught using the lights to smoke the marijuana, it would be a different story but this is something he may want to consider fighting. If not, the prosecution may offer him a diversion program that he can enter,to get the case dismissed. He can inquire about this when he gets the court date in the mail and appears. The State may decide that the lighter is not worth proceeding on and not file the charges but if they do, he will have to be notified and appear.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

You will receive an excellent rating from me for sure. May I please ask a couple of follow-ups. I want to make sure I add some context regarding the lighter. He was with a group of "friends" that he knows smoke cigarettes, but then someone in the group pulled out a marijuana joint. When he saw this, he was about to leave, but the police shined their flashlights and he didn't want to run. On the complaint it shows the charge of drug paraphernalia, and doesn't indicate that it's only a cigarette lighter. So thus the person reviewing the initial complaint would not know this in making a decision. They would most likely think it was a bong, clip or something else. Does this impact your thoughts?

I think the prosecutor is going to contact the officer and ask if he recalls what exactly was in his possession. If the officer does not remember to states it was a regular lighter, the State may not want to proceed. There would need to be specifics as to what the "paraphernalia" is and if it is vague, could also be a possible basis to dismiss, unless the officer were to amend the citation.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So at this point he needs to wait and see whether or not the state decides to prosecute . My guess is that he will either receive a notice of dismissal or a notice of hearing next in the mail?? And this is my last question for now. I wil rate upon your response to this question. Thank you very much for your information. It has been helpful. I understand it is not legal advice.



Yes, that is correct. If they file the charge, he will receive something in the mail, with a date and time to appear.
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