Drug paraphernalia are products, materials, and equipment used, intended for use, or designed for use in consuming illegal drugs. This definition extends to products designed and created to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, store, conceal, manufacture, and introduce into the human body a controlled substance.
Several items qualify as drug paraphernalia, and the definition varies from state to state. In most states, simply possessing drug paraphernalia is a crime. Whether or not simply possessing drug paraphernalia is a crime in your state depends on your state’s local criminal statutes.
In short, yes. In the state of Nevada, it is illegal to have drug paraphernalia in your possession for use to consume illegal drugs. Possession of drug paraphernalia is generally classified as a misdemeanor, but penalties may be enhanced in certain circumstances. However, having drug paraphernalia in your possession is not a felony charge in Nevada.
Most commonly, people charged with this crime have in their possession pipes used to ingest methamphetamine or marijuana. However it is important to note that since marijuana legalization in Nevada in 2017, it is no longer illegal to possess marijuana paraphernalia such as bongs. Other paraphernalia that are still illegal includes:
- Cocaine spoons;
- Water pipes;
- Substances used to cut cocaine;
- Drug testing kits;
- Kits used to grow marijuana;
- Cocaine vials; and
- Scales to weigh controlled substances, to name a few.
As noted above, in Nevada, drug paraphernalia is defined as any kind of equipment or materials intended for the manufacture, storage, or ingestion of illegal drugs. You must be found to have possessed drug paraphernalia, beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for possessing drug paraphernalia, Clark County courts will typically consider several factors such as:
- Your prior convictions, including drug convictions, of anyone possessing the alleged paraphernalia;
- If the paraphernalia contains illegal drug residue;
- The manner in which the alleged paraphernalia was displayed for sale;
- An expert’s testimony concerning the use of the alleged paraphernalia;
- Proximity of the alleged paraphernalia to controlled substances;
- If the alleged paraphernalia had usage instructions indicating it was to be used in relation with a controlled substance;
- Any incriminating statements made by the accused concerning the alleged paraphernalia; or
- Any other evidence, direct or circumstantial, about the intent of the person in possession of the alleged paraphernalia.
As previously discussed, it is only a misdemeanor in Nevada to use or possess with intent to use drug paraphernalia. Simply put, a misdemeanor is considered to be a lesser crime, and is typically a victimless crime. A person convicted of this misdemeanor for simple possession or advertising will likely face a range of penalties including:
- Up to six months in a county jail;
- Up to $1,000 in fines; or
- Both county jail time and a fine.
Intentionally advertising drug paraphernalia will earn these same penalties. Selling or possessing drug paraphernalia in Nevada carries less severe penalties than possessing or selling the actual drugs themselves, as long as children are not involved.
Paraphernalia possession becomes a felony in Nevada when a person sells, delivers, or manufactures the paraphernalia when they know (or should have known) that it will be used for producing, storing, or consuming illegal drugs.
The same applies to the possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use. The standard penalty for this Category E felony in the state of Nevada includes one to four years in prison and a possible fines of up to $5,000. The prison sentence may be probational, in whole or in part.
Further, it is also a felony in Nevada if someone the age of eighteen or over were to allegedly deliver drug paraphernalia to someone else who is both under the age of eighteen AND at least three years younger than the accused. For this Class C felony, possible punishment penalty ranges consist of:
- One to five years in Nevada state prison;
- A possible fine of up to $10,000; and
- A possible restitution for the costs of the minor enrolling in a substance abuse program.
If you’re facing any type of drug criminal charge, whether for the possession of the illegal drug itself or its paraphernalia, it is in your best interest to get assistance from a criminal defense attorney.
A knowledgeable and well-qualified criminal defense attorney will be able to represent you in court and help you understand the charges you face, as well as the penalties. Further, they will be able to assist you in fighting the criminal charge. Assistance from a Nevada criminal defense attorney specifically is absolutely essential when facing a paraphernalia charge.