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Synthetic drugs pose risk of criminal penalties

Law enforcement officers in New York might choose to arrest someone in possession of a synthetic drug that might still be technically legal. Drug manufacturers continually attempt to stay ahead of legislation by altering formulas for substances commonly known as bath salts or spice. Police, however, do not know the exact chemical makeup of a suspicious substance at the time of arrest. Therefore, a person could be jailed and charged until a laboratory determines the legality of the substance in question.

Even if the substance being used does not have the chemical profile of a banned substance, an individual's behavior while high might lead to criminal charges. Public intoxication statutes typically do not depend on what caused the person's impairment. Violent or erratic behavior caused by the ingestion of a synthetic drug could be grounds for prosecution.

The cocktail of unknown chemicals within bath salts or spice could produce negative effects upon users. The packaging and form of bath salts varies. Spice, which is also called K2, purports to mimic marijuana. Makers apply a variety of chemicals to a plant substance. Smoking or ingesting K2 has been known to cause unpredictable reactions. To stop consumption of potentially dangerous substances, legislators continue to develop laws against products that market themselves as legal intoxicants.

In this changing legal environment, a person involved in a police investigation might ask an attorney for representation. An attorney could review the drug charges and applicable laws. If the chemical composition of the drugs in question does not fall within categories deemed illegal, then the attorney could ask for the case to be dismissed.

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