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Busted!Drug War Survival Skills: From the Buy to the Bust to Begging for Mercy
By M. Fabricant
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 M. Fabricant
All right reserved.
Everything You Need To Know About Drug and Drug Paraphernalia Possession
There are almost as many ways to get nabbed for possession as there are drugs to possess, and all methods offer the same result in the same order: bust, strip search, jail, body-cavity search (oh, yeah), guilty plea, more jail, criminal record. Rinse. Repeat if necessary.
Drug-possession law ought to be simple enough: Have drugs, will get busted. And it's often that simple. But what if it's just some stems and seeds, or some flaky white stuff in a Baggie? What if some bastard sold you a bag of baby powder and called it cocaine?
What about that dope you stashed in your girl's panties? What if those are your panties? And who's on the hook for the fat lines on the drafting table at the "fashion show" that just got busted? How about the fatty in the ashtray of the Cooper-nowhere-to-hide-Mini that just got pulled over? Or the weed growing in your roommate's closet?
And how can you get busted on a paraphernalia charge when you bought that bong in a legit store and paid your damn sales tax? Maybe you just connected a friend to a source, or drove her to her dealer on your way to Sunday school. What do you mean she OD'd? Manslaughter?! All I did was pass on a beeper number! Maybe it's time you went to the emergency room yourself?
My God, the dope is everywhere ... I' m going to need a lawyer.
But Those Are Just Stems and Seeds, Man!
Drugs do not necessarily have to be of sufficient quantity or quality to get you high to get you busted for possession. Flakes of coke, nine pot seeds, a single crystal of meth, baby marijuana plants, bong resin, and needles with traces of smack have all been enough dope to make the bust stick, so long as the bustee was aware that it was dope. Awareness is usually inferred by where the drugs were found. It's assumed that you're aware of what you've got in your drawers.
As was the case with Mr. Scott, possession busts for not possessing drugs are most frequently visited upon those who are suspected of dealing and parolees caught with paraphernalia, or who flunk a drug test (see "Drug Test?" page 191); but such busts are also visited upon those caught eating the stash, or who successfully flushed the bulk of the dope down the drain enraging the police and making them determined to bring the pain, one way or another (see "Eating the Stash" page 87).
Some states require a "usable amount" of a narcotic, rather than a "detectable amount." In those states, an expert will testify that although she never does dope, has never done dope, and hates everyone that does dope, the dope that you had was sufficient to have had an "exciting effect" and was therefore "usable." The reality, though, is that any measurable amount is sufficient.
The lesson here is to lick your Baggies clean, throw them away, and break out the Dustbuster.
So you went down to Washington Square Park and scored yourself a dime bag of parsley from the droopy Jamaican cat. Nice. Perhaps you paid some jittery basehead a hundred bucks at the circuit party for a couple of aspirins with happy faces. Can you get busted for parsley possession? Of course! It's the Drug War! It's not supposed to be fair. In the drugpossession game, it's buyer beware. You may get fugazied, but the judge will not pity you. In most states, you will get busted for attempted possession. The dirty deed is done as soon as you pay for what you thought was dope.
A fool's dope bust will not usually befall you unless you score from a cop. (You can never trust those bastards.) If you're nabbed doing a big bong hit of tobacco that you thought was herb, for example, the chances are good you won't be prosecuted for giving yourself a migraine. But don't count on it. (See "Paraphernalia," page 41.)
Possessing the Good Shit
When is an eight ball not an eight ball? When you buy retail. Not when you get busted. Eight balls that are in reality two balls -- mostly baking soda and enough speed to give you a headache -- are still eight balls in the criminal justice system. You will be charged with possessing an eighth of an ounce of coke. In general, anything that you were planning to snort, smoke, suck, or jam in your vein counts toward the total weight of the drug.
But the Drug War can always get you coming and going. The lower down the food chain you are, the lower the quality of your dope should be. So if you have some very good shit, the uncut stuff your typical work-hard-play-hard Wall Street junkie doesn't come across, the DA will take that into account when he's deciding whether to charge you with simple possession (bad) or possession with intent to distribute (much worse). The difference is usually about five years. The better the dope, the more years. So if you like your shit good, you've been warned. (To avoid distribution charges, aside from simply buying down-market, see "If You're Keeping Dope Around ... ," page 22.)
Excerpted from Busted! by M. Fabricant Copyright © 2005 by M. Fabricant. Excerpted by permission.
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