Drug paraphernalia possession charges are no laughing matter. Being charged with this offense can seriously impact your life and future, yet many people are unaware of the laws surrounding drug paraphernalia possession.
As a law firm, we know that facing drug paraphernalia possession charges can be daunting, but we're here to help you understand your options. Whether you are already facing charges or you are just curious, this enlightening guide will help you understand all about drug paraphernalia possession and the right steps to take.
Drug paraphernalia refers to any object, equipment, product, or material used for storing, concealing, preparing, or consuming an illegal drug such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine. This can include items like water pipes, bongs, needles, cocaine vials, miniature cocaine spoons, rolling papers, and other items used for illegal drug activities.
In many states, it is a crime to possess these types of items even if there is no trace of an illegal or dangerous substance on them. For instance, it is illegal to possess items like methamphetamine manufacturing material or precursors of methamphetamine.
According to Human Rights Watch, in the United States, approximately one person is arrested every 25 seconds for simple possession of drugs. This number surpasses any other type of crime, with state law enforcement officers making over 1.25 million arrests annually.
These figures demonstrate just how heavily drug possession is policed in the US and highlight the disproportionate amount of attention that these drug paraphernalia offenses have been receiving compared to other types of crimes.
What is the Punishment for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?
Without any reasonable doubt, the punishment or consequences of possession of drug paraphernalia could be very severe. Depending on the state, drug paraphernalia possession can be a misdemeanor or felony drug charge.
Misdemeanor Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
The penalties for a misdemeanor drug paraphernalia charge will vary depending on the state. A misdemeanor means the charge is less serious than a felony. The punishment for a Class A misdemeanor drug paraphernalia charge can include fines, probation, community service, and potentially up to a year in jail.
In these cases, the judge may assign a probation sentence that includes random drug testing, mandatory drug treatment programs or classes, and other conditions. The goal is to ultimately help someone accused of drug paraphernalia possession to stay away from drugs and become a responsible member of society.
Felony Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
In some cases, possession of drug paraphernalia may result in felony charges. A felony charge means that the crime is more serious and carries harsher penalties. This is typically seen when there is a connection to more serious drug crimes such as the manufacture, delivery, or unlawful disposal of drugs. Felony charges carry much harsher penalties including lengthy jail sentences and large fines.
For example, the jail term could be up to 6 years, depending on the state and your previous criminal history, if any. Also, you could be subject to the payment of a fine which could be up to $5, 000. Overall, you should note that the severity of the punishment may depend on the state in which the crime was committed, as well as any previous criminal history.
Defenses From Prosecution in Drug Paraphernalia Cases
Generally, when facing a drug paraphernalia charge, it is strongly recommended to seek out the help of an experienced criminal attorney who can ensure that their constitutional rights are protected and that the most effective defense strategies are utilized.
Depending on the circumstances, there are several common strategies that can be used to fight a drug paraphernalia charge. These include the following:
The Legality of the Search and Seizure
This is, perhaps, the most common defense used in drug paraphernalia cases. If the law enforcement officer did not have a valid search warrant or probable cause to conduct the search, your attorney can argue that the evidence should be thrown out of court. Such an act by the police officer may be regarded as misconduct and; therefore, unlawful. This means that the evidence can be disregarded.
No Actual Possession
In some cases, it may be possible to prove that you were not in actual possession of the drug paraphernalia. If you were not aware of the presence of the item or it was not found on your person, your attorney can argue that you did not possess it and thus should be acquitted.
No Knowledge of Illegal Use
In other cases, you may have had no knowledge that the drug paraphernalia was being used for an illegal purpose. For example, you may have been unaware that the item in question was being used to prepare or store drugs. In this case, your attorney can argue that you had no intention of using the item for a criminal purpose and should not be held liable for any criminal offense.
Question the Evidence Presented by the Prosecutors
Your attorney can also challenge the evidence presented by the prosecutors. For example, they can argue that the drug paraphernalia in question was not actually being used for an illegal purpose or that there was no connection between you and the item.
Lastly, your attorney may be able to argue that the drug paraphernalia was used for a legitimate medical or scientific purpose. This defense can be difficult to prove, but it may be possible to overcome the charges with the right evidence and testimony.
How We Can Help With Paraphernalia Charges
You must realize that possession of drug paraphernalia can have serious consequences. It is necessary to consult with an experienced drug defense lawyer if you are facing such charges. An attorney will be able to advise you of your legal options and help build a strong defense strategy to fight the charges against you.
As always, it is best to take all necessary steps to avoid getting into trouble with the law in the first place. However, when you find yourself in this complex situation, legal representation becomes a must.
At Ktenas Law, we have extensive experience in criminal defenses, inclusive of drug paraphernalia possession cases. Our attorneys will take the time to thoroughly review your case, conduct background checks and look for any evidence that can be used in your favor.
We also utilize expert testimony and other strategies to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome. If you are facing drug paraphernalia charges, call us today at 312-756-8652 for a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal law attorneys.