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When you think about drug paraphernalia, you think about pipes, bongs and needles. However, virtually anything -- even a piece of fruit or other common household items like tin foil -- could be considered drug paraphernalia if authorities find it in the right context.

Imagine police obtain a warrant to search your vehicle or your residence. Now, imagine they search your entire house and they don't find any drugs. However, they do find a digital scale, a crumpled up ball of tinfoil, an apple and little plastic baggies and a pipe. If they don't find any drugs or drug residue to go along with these items, you're probably in the clear. However, if they find these otherwise innocent items in the following contexts, they could be deemed drug paraphernalia:

A digital scale


When things look grim based on the factual scenario in a criminal defendant's lawsuit, and a conviction is likely, the defendant may elect to negotiate a plea deal. Negotiating the plea, or plea bargaining, is a useful defense tactic that benefits both the defendant and the prosecution.

Let's take a look at how plea bargaining benefits both sides of the criminal defense equation:

How plea bargains help defendants


Although you might not think that you're hurting someone's property by spray-painting your initials or a picture on the side of it, the owner of the property could feel differently about it. In fact, the owner – and the police for that matter – might see such an act as vandalism. Vandalism – i.e., the destruction, defacing or harming of someone else's property – is illegal and those who are found guilty of the offense will face various criminal punishments.

If you're not sure what constitutes vandalism under the law, here are a few examples of the crime:

  1. Intentionally throwing a rock into a neighbor's window and breaking it
  2. Spray-painting the side of a building with your initials or spray-painting your favorite design on a street sign
  3. Ripping the picture off a billboard
  4. Drawing a mustache and glasses on a poster next to a bus stop
  5. Using a permanent marker to draw on a bathroom stall
  6. Painting graffiti on a sidewalk

Many who commit the crime of vandalism see themselves as graffiti artists and they might – indeed – be creating beautiful art. To make matters more confusing, some graffiti artists are revered and respected even though they began their art careers as vandals and may even have been arrested and convicted of the crime on multiple occasions. Yes, in many cases the line between art and vandalism can be blurred. Call it what you wish. If you've changed the appearance of someone else's property or in some way harmed the property without permission from the owner, then a criminal court will likely find you guilty of vandalism.


Police in Belvidere say that they arrested an accused a man of drug crimes in a recent narcotics bust. Authorities say that they made a routine traffic stop at the Belvidere Oasis last Sunday, and it later led to the arrest.

The police officer who pulled the man over happened to be a Boone County Sheriff's Department K-9 unit. Shortly after conducting the traffic stop, the sheriff's deputy called for backup from Belvidere/Boone County Metro Narcotics officers. The narcotics officers arrived and assisted with a search and seizure operation.

Police say that the search and seizure produced approximately 190 grams of cocaine, approximately 45 grams of heroin and an unspecified amount of cash. The arrested and accused driver, a 38-year-old man who hails from Madison, has been charged with various drug crimes. These include unlawful possession of drugs with the intent to deliver, which is a Class X felony and punishable with six to 30 years of prison upon conviction. He was also charged with two counts of unlawful possession of drugs, which is a Class 1 felony and punishable with four to 15 years in prison upon conviction.


Posted on in OWI

You have a few drinks at the bar and decide to drive home. On the way there, you notice that your car is running out of gas. You pull into a gas station, fill up and then head into the station to pay.

When you come out, a police officer has stopped at the pump next to yours. You feel nervous, so you go back into the building. Then you realize that looks suspicious, so you go back out and head to your car. The officer says hello to you, and you try to casually say hello back, but you stumble over your words.

You get in the car and turn it on. The officer is still watching you, and suddenly the alcohol hits you a little harder. You put your head down on the steering wheel. The motor is running, but the car is still in park. As you look up, the officer walks over and asks you to get out of the vehicle. You wind up getting arrested for a DUI.

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