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What is a drug paraphernalia charge?

With the exception of prescription drugs used by the person they were prescribed to, most Florida residents are well aware that drugs are illegal to use and sell. Drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroine are all controlled substances that could carry with them serious penalties if an individual is accused of using or selling these drugs. However, an individual does not have to be in possession of the actual drug to receive a drug charge. If a person has a device or item that is used for illegal drug usage, he or she could be charged for having drug paraphernalia.

What is a drug paraphernalia charge? Various acts could land a person with this charge; however, these charges are very dependent on whether the charges are brought under federal or state law. Under federal law, a person could face this charge is they sell or offer to sell drug paraphernalia, mail drug paraphernalia or transport it through interstate commerce or import or export drug paraphernalia.

On the other hand, an individual could face a drug paraphernalia charge for simply possessing a prohibited item that is used for drug usage. Under state law, that is enough to face this charge regardless if the accused intended to sell or transport the items in question. Nonetheless, it must be proven that the item in question is in fact drug paraphernalia and not an item used for legitimate purposes, such as tobacco use.

If you are facing a drug paraphernalia charge, it is important to understand what this means and whether it falls under state or federal laws. Additionally, defendants should note their ability to assert a defense. Whether that means proving that the item is not theirs or that it was used for a legitimate purpose, this could help reduce or dismiss the charges against them.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Drug Paraphernalia Charges," accessed Jan. 21, 2018

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