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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27126
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Can I be charged for my mail being next to drug

Customer Question

Can I be charged for my mail being next to drug paraphernalia in a house that was searched?
Assistant: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: I am being charged with possesion and drug paraphernalia for some mail with my name on it being found next to it during a search. It was not my residence that was searched but i was arrested and charged 3 days later.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 7 months ago.


I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Please be patient while I research and compose a reply for you.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 7 months ago.

But first, were other people arrested with you? In what US state did this occur?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 7 months ago.

If you were not found at the residence during the police raid, but the police believed the paraphernalia was yours and arrested you three days later just because they found mail addressed to you right near the paraphernalia, you could be charged with this crime.

In order to charge someone with a crime, all the police need is something called probable cause. Probable cause is just a reasonable belief that you MAY HAVE BEEN breaking the law. Drug paraphernalia found right next to your mail in a residence that does not belong to you, could reasonably mean that you were at that residence and brought drugs and paraphernalia with you. There may be other reasonable explanations s well, but it's not a big leap of logic for the police to think you brought drugs and paraphernalia to the home.

Now, although you can be arrested for this, whether you can be convicted or not is an entirely different matter. In order to convict you of the possession of the drugs and paraphernalia, the state has to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you possessed them. The standard of evidence and burden of proof for a prosecutor in a criminal case is not only much greater than what they need to charge you but it is the heaviest burden of proof in all of law.

So, yes you can be charged. But it might be difficult for the state to convict you, depending upon the other facts and circumstances in the case. Any doubt as to your involvement would have to result in your acquittal because the DA will not have met his or her burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 7 months ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.