Getting caught with illegal drugs is a serious matter that can result in criminal charges. But what many people don’t realize is that you can also face charges for possessing drug paraphernalia, even if no drugs are found on your person. The laws against drug use include any items used in consuming, manufacturing or distributing controlled substances.
Items considered drug paraphernalia are explicitly intended for drug use, such as bongs, pipes, rolling papers, syringes and even certain scales. While some of these items might seem innocuous or have legitimate uses, their context can make all the difference.
Items can be considered paraphernalia if the intent is clear
The legal system often considers the circumstances surrounding the possession of potential paraphernalia. For example, a standard kitchen spoon is unlikely to raise eyebrows. However, it may be regarded as paraphernalia if found alongside small baggies and a lighter. The defining factor is the intent to use the item for consuming, preparing or distributing drugs.
Ownership isn’t the only factor in getting charged
Simply being the owner of an item isn’t always necessary for you to face charges. If you’re in a vehicle or a residence where paraphernalia is found, and it’s clear the items are intended for drug use, you could find yourself in legal hot water. This is known as constructive possession, meaning you had access to and control over the paraphernalia, even if it wasn’t technically yours.
Understanding that drug-related offenses aren’t limited to possessing controlled substances alone is crucial. Possessing items with a clear intent for drug use can also result in criminal charges. If you face such charges, work with someone who can help you learn and evaluate your defense options.