The technical definition of drug paraphernalia is any equipment, product or material which is used or intended for use or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, or the introduction into the human body of a controlled substance.
Some examples of drug paraphernalia that are specifically listed in the statute would be scales, bowls, spoons, pipes, straws, bongs, anything that would be used along with the controlled substance that would aid the introduction of that controlled substance into the human body.
The maximum penalty for possession of drug paraphernalia would be a year in the county jail. The legislature has made it a first-degree misdemeanor, meaning that the maximum penalty for the offense would be up to one year in the Broward County jail and up to a $1,000 fine. If you have been charged, you should consult a qualified drug lawyer that could attempt to mitigate the penalties you face and advocate for you. Speak with a Ft. Lauderdale drug paraphernalia lawyer and know that you are in good hands.
Examples of Drug Paraphernalia
Law enforcement would make that determination as to whether or not an item is drug paraphernalia based on whether or not any controlled substances were found in or around it, whether or not there is any residue found on the item. For example, pipes, bongs, water pipes, carburetion tubes, roach clips, spoons, vials, chillums, cartridges or canisters containing nitrous oxide would count as drug paraphernalia.
The statute says a charger is sometimes referred to as a cracker which means a small metal or plastic device that contains an interior pin that may be used to expel nitrous oxide from a cartridge or container. A charging bottle which means a device that may be used to expel nitrous oxide from a cartridge or canister. Also tanks, balloons, boozes and/or tubes, two-liter soda bottles, or duck tape count as illegal paraphernalia for controlled substances. A Ft. Lauderdale lawyer could answer questions that people may have on what constitutes drug paraphernalia.
Rights of a Person Caught With Paraphernalia
Individuals who have been charged with possession of paraphernalia have the same rights as anyone facing a criminal charge would have, such as:
- Protection against unlawful searches and seizures
- Right to remain silent
- Right to counsel
- Right to speedy trial
- Right to have the government carry the burden of proof in the case throughout the entirety of the case
As any Ft. Lauderdale lawyer might attest, the defendant has the same rights that any other individual would have if they were charged with a criminal offense other than possession of drug paraphernalia.
How Drug Paraphernalia is Discovered
Almost always, law enforcement discovers drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop or any other encounter that law enforcement might have with an individual. They oftentimes see these illegal items in plain view in motor vehicles. They often times find drug paraphernalia through other searches such as a consensual search, and inventory search, meaning that a piece of evidence is going to be taken into custody by law enforcement after an arrest.
For example, if they search a vehicle, they might find controlled substance paraphernalia in the vehicle. If an individual is arrested not a drug-related offense, but for a DUI, for example, and the individual is searched in an incident related to the arrest for DUI, they might find drug paraphernalia in an individual’s pocket or on or around a location where the person was either driving their motor vehicle or positioned in their vehicle.
Possessing drug paraphernalia is a first-degree misdemeanor which means that an individual can face up to one year in the county jail and up to a $1,000 fine. An individual can be placed on probation for up to a year if they are prosecuted with possession of drug paraphernalia. Depending on what the item was will dictate how the case is looked at by the prosecution and the judge.
For example, pipes and rolling papers compared to needles or spoons are different. Additionally, there are scales for weighing, and grinders, so if somebody is dealing or in the economics of the drug trade, the type of paraphernalia is going to have an impact on how the case is looked upon by the prosecutor and/or the judge. Another other issue is a drug paraphernalia that is being utilized for the selling or packaging or distribution of controlled substances or illegal drugs. If an individual has been charged with possession of illegal controlled substance items, they should consult a skilled Ft. Lauderdale drug paraphernalia lawyer that could construct a solid defense for them.