As a result of drug paraphernalia laws, you can get into trouble for a drug-related violation without possessing any drugs at all. Not only that, but virtually anything can result in a drug paraphernalia charge depending on the context in which it was found. For example, a piece of tin foil, a plastic baggie and even a spoon could be drug paraphernalia — just as much as a pipe, bong or syringe could be — if they are found at the same time as illegal drugs.
Here are three types of drug paraphernalia violations:
Selling drug paraphernalia or offering to sell paraphernalia: Police might accuse a defendant of selling various items used in connection with drugs, like homemade items used to take drugs or manufactured items like syringes, pipes and bongs. An important point is that you don’t actually have to sell the paraphernalia to be convicted of the crime. You might simply offer to sell it, and this is enough for a conviction to occur, if prosecutors can prove that the offer to sell happened.
Mailing drug paraphernalia or transporting it across state lines: Sending or transporting drug-related items through the mail or in a car across state lines could result in a violation of federal drug laws. Whereas most drug paraphernalia charges relate to state law violation, if you commit any kind of interstate drug activity, it falls under the jurisdiction of federal law.
Importing or exporting drug paraphernalia: If you’re involved in bringing drug paraphernalia into the United States, or sending it out of the United States, this could also result in federal drug paraphernalia allegations.
Possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia: Drug paraphernalia and drug possession charges often go hand-in-hand. When someone is found with drugs, police may also find them with items connected to the drugs, like a pipe, a syringe or a scale that was used to weigh the drugs.
Drug paraphernalia charges can ruin a clean criminal record if a conviction occurs, even if the defendant was not in possession of actual drugs. If you’re facing these kinds of allegations, make sure you fully understand your charges, potential punishments and criminal defense options.