Good Question: Can scales and sandwich bags raise suspicion during a traffic stop?

June 17, 2019 08:44 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — You may have heard reports of people who've been charged for not only having drugs but for possessing things like scales and sandwich bags.

We found out having those items — even without drugs — may not land you in jail but could raise suspicion during a traffic stop.


Gates Police Lt. Robert Long has seen it many times — innocent people carrying 'suspicious' items, especially scales. 

"There's a lot of the weight loss programs," Long said. "Bodybuilders often monitor how many calories they intake through weights of food. You see that a lot. They carry scales around in their cars." 

While that's not illegal, it could raise some questions. That's because scales and things like sandwich bags are also common accessories for drug dealers.

"If you're actively selling drugs or purchasing drugs and you have a scale and packaging products along with baggies that will get you in trouble," Long said.  

Those items actually beef up charges against someone if they're found along with drugs, even if it's just a small amount.

"You can be charged additionally for possession of drug paraphernalia and there are different levels and charges to be used depending on what you have," Long explained.

So what if you don't have drugs but do have a scale in the car? Police say your best bet is to fess up.

"Even if there are no drugs, for an investigation we would probably talk to you see where that's going," Long said. "It doesn't mean you're in trouble. Just tell the officer why you may have a scale or baggies."

If you have a question you'd like answered, send Pat an email


Pat Taney

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