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What are drug paraphernalia charges?

When most people think about drug charges, they likely think about a person having an illegal drug in his or her possession. There is one type of drug charge that doesn't even involve having drugs -- drug paraphernalia charges.

What is drug paraphernalia?

Drug paraphernalia is anything that can be used to make, sell, use or hide illegal drugs. Items like syringes, rolling papers, scales, spoons, bongs and other items are all considered drug paraphernalia if they are being used in connection with illegal drugs. Pipes, such as those made of ceramic, stone, wood, glass or plastic are also considered drug paraphernalia, according to the federal definition of drug paraphernalia.

How are household items considered drug paraphernalia?

Items like scales, spoons and storage bags might be considered drug paraphernalia if they are being used to package drugs for sale or for using drugs. A spoon that is used to freebase cocaine would be considered drug paraphernalia. A scale that is used to weigh drugs for sale and storage bags to hold the required amounts of drugs would be considered drug paraphernalia.

How are common items handled in drug paraphernalia cases?

In some cases, small differences in an item can mean the difference between a drug paraphernalia conviction or dismissal. For example, a hookah used to smoke tobacco only won't necessarily mean a drug paraphernalia conviction. If that hookah has drug residue on it, a drug paraphernalia conviction might occur.

When you are facing charges for drug paraphernalia, you have to learn about the applicable laws. Once you know the applicable laws, you can learn about possible defense strategies.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Paraphernalia," accessed Aug. 19, 2015

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