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220.5 Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree30 Jan 2019

220.5 Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree
You can be charged with drug offenses even without having any significant trace of an illegal substance (such as cocaine or heroin) on your person or in your residence. This happens when you are found in possession of drug paraphernalia. When charging you with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, the burden is on the prosecution to prove that you were using the incriminating materials for drug-related purposes.

What is Drug Paraphernalia?

Drug paraphernalia is considered to be any object that could be reasonably deduced to be used in conjunction with the manufacturing, distribution or use of illegal substances. This can include devices that are used for ingesting these substances, such as needles and pipes.

Many drug paraphernalia charges are made for instruments that aid in the selling of drugs. These include scales for weighing the amount to be sold or packaging materials to store the substances for distribution. Paraphernalia charges can often be made alongside drug possession charges.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Paraphernalia?

Being caught in possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a misdemeanor. This can result in up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Even though it’s not as serious as a felony, paraphernalia charges can still greatly affect your life. The consequences can also be increased if you are charged with selling paraphernalia or if you’re charged with selling at or near a school.

Does Paraphernalia Possession Automatically Mean Charges?

Merely having items that are used as drug paraphernalia is not enough to warrant a charge. Many items that are considered paraphernalia have legal purposes. For instance, possession of small plastic bags cannot be considered grounds for a paraphernalia charge alone, even though they’ve been used by drug dealers for storing illicit substances. In order for a paraphernalia charge to be valid, there needs to be evidence that they were used or intended to be used for drug-related purposes. For instance, if someone is found in possession with heroin and needles, those needles could be considered paraphernalia.

Drug paraphernalia charges can be given if instruments are found with traces of illicit substances on them. For instance, a glass pipe that is found in a residence unused or with a legal substance like tobacco will not result in a paraphernalia charge. However, traces of illegal substances like marijuana (depending on the laws of your jurisdiction) and crack cocaine can constitute a paraphernalia charge.

Finding a Lawyer

If you have been charged with drug paraphernalia, you want to make sure your lawyer, whether they’re one you’ve hired or one that has been appointed to you, knows how to argue on your behalf. They should review your case thoroughly and see any discrepancies in your charges that could be argued to help have them reduced or dropped.

If there has been no viable proof that the paraphernalia you were found in possession of was meant for drug-related purposes, you will be able to better fight your case. Be sure to consider any advice your attorney gives you. It is also in your interest to refrain from speaking unless instructed to do so by your attorney. Even if you’re innocent, you don’t want to risk saying anything that could incriminate you.

Your drug paraphernalia case can be fought successfully with the help of a good lawyer. You need to work with your defender as thoroughly as possible to have your charges dropped, reduced, or to achieve a “not guilty” verdict. By putting your focus on your case, you can aim for a better outcome with your case.

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