Possession of Paraphernalia

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What Is Possession of Paraphernalia?

Possession of paraphernalia, or possession of drug paraphernalia, is a criminal charge involving items that are used in relation to drug crimes. Paraphernalia is any instrument that is used in the manufacturing, production, distribution, sale, or consumption of drugs. Examples of drug paraphernalia include:

The penalties for possession of paraphernalia usually involve criminal fines and jail sentences of less than one year. Possession of paraphernalia is generally classified as a misdemeanor, but penalties may be enhanced under various circumstances.  For example, penalties for repeat possession offenses, or for possession of paraphernalia in a school zone may resemble those for felony charges.

How Do the Police Determine Whether an Item Is Drug Paraphernalia?

With some items, it’s clear that it’s being used for drugs (for example, a pipe that smells strongly of drugs). For other items, it may not be clear right away that it is being used as drug paraphernalia. If authorities suspect that an object is connected with drug activities, they may analyze several factors, such as;

A common occurrence is where a retailer is selling items that are legal, but are popularly used as drug paraphernalia. A good example of this is a tobacco retailer that sells a pipe to consumers who use it to smoke illegal substances. Here, authorities may need to conduct a detailed investigation to determine whether the retailer intended to sell their product for use with drugs. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Possession of Paraphernalia Charges?

As with any criminal charge, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer is indispensible if you’re facing charges for possession of paraphernalia. Besides the criminal penalties involved, possession of drug paraphernalia can lead to many negative consequences, such as difficulties in obtaining employment. A qualified criminal defense attorney in your area can provide you much needed legal advice and representation in a court of law.

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Last Modified: 03-05-2014 04:14 PM PST

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