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What is drug paraphernalia?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Drug Charges

You know that you can get into trouble if you’re caught with drugs in your possession, but what if you’re also caught with “paraphernalia,” instead? Is that serious?

It can be. Drug paraphernalia is anything that someone can use to prepare, consume, transfer, sell, or conceal illegal substances, and you can face charges for having those in your possession even if you don’t possess any drugs.

What kinds of things can be considered drug paraphernalia?

Some items may seem obvious, while others might arguably just be considered ordinary household items. You can find yourself charged with possession of drug paraphernalia over objects like:

  • Glass pipes
  • Hookahs
  • Bongs
  • Rolling papers
  • Hollowed-out cigars
  • Hypodermic syringes
  • Metal spoons
  • Food scales
  • Grinders
  • Pill crushers
  • Pill bottles
  • Plastic baggies

Generally speaking, the authorities do have to prove that the objects can be considered drug paraphernalia – but that’s often done through circumstantial evidence. If there’s heroin residue on a bent spoon in your possession, for example, that’s probably going to cement the charge. If you are caught with a large bag of marijuana, a lot of small empty baggies, and a scale nearby, the logical inference is that the two are related.

While a drug paraphernalia charge may seem the least of your worries, the reality is that each item in your possession can be charged as a separate “count” or charge, and those charges are all Class C felonies. Have a grinder, a food scale and five plastic baggies in your possession when you’re caught with marijuana? You could be facing seven Class C felonies on top of the drug charge – and those can each result in five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Prosecutors can play hard ball when it comes to paraphernalia charges, which is why it can be critically important to get experienced legal guidance right away if you’re accused of possessing things that you technically shouldn’t.