What are drug paraphernalia charges?

There are federal laws that make it illegal to transport, sell, import or export drug paraphernalia. This includes any items or devices used to make, control or use illicit drugs such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana and others. Possession of drug paraphernalia is not considered a federal crime, but a person could be charged on the state level.

What are some examples of drug paraphernalia?

If a person is arrested on drug charges relating to drug paraphernalia, the prosecution must first prove that the item or device is, indeed, paraphernalia. This includes any items that are used to manufacture, grow, cultivate, weigh or package illegal drugs. The following are considered drug paraphernalia:

  • Various types of pipes for smoking substances
  • Vials
  • Spoons, including miniature spoons
  • Hypodermic needles for injecting illegal substances
  • Plastic baggies
  • Aluminum foil
  • Straws for snorting drugs in powder form
  • Scales to weigh substances
  • Roach clips to hold rolled joints
  • Bongs
  • Chemicals to dilute the strength of substances

Possessing drug paraphernalia itself isn’t always a crime. However, when a person has it with the intention of using it with illegal drugs, they can face charges.

If a person is convicted on drug paraphernalia charges, common penalties include a jail term that may be up to 90 days, fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 depending on the severity of the crime and probation. Usually this offense is classified as a misdemeanor, but a person might be charged with a felony if the offense involves manufacturing and distributing drug paraphernalia.

Even with the most minor offense, drug paraphernalia charges can seriously affect your life, and the construction of a solid defense strategy is important.

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