Of all the criminal charges one can face, drug charges can be some of the most ominous, since they carry extremely harsh penalties even for somewhat minor offenses. While some individuals believe you must be in possession of drugs to be charged with a drug crime, the fact is being in possession of various types of drug paraphernalia can result in an arrest. Depending on the type of paraphernalia and the circumstances surrounding the arrest, the crime can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. If you find yourself being charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, you will need the assistance of defense lawyers who specialize in drug offenses, such as attorneys at Raiser and Kenniff.
What is Considered Drug Paraphernalia?
Based on section 220.50 of the New York Penal Code, a variety of items can be classified as drug paraphernalia. The most common include scales, envelopes, capsules, vials, balance equipment, and other packaging materials associated with drug possession and distribution. In addition to what is considered to be drug paraphernalia, New York Penal Code section 220.50 states that a person can be charged with drug paraphernalia possession if they are found to be selling or possessing any amount of drug materials required to prepare narcotics, stimulants, or other substances which are considered illegal.
When charged with drug paraphernalia possession, police will immediately examine the materials to determine if it is what they refer to as “dirty” paraphernalia. By this, they mean the paraphernalia in your possession contains residue on it from a controlled substance. If this is the case, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. While some individuals may believe this is not a big deal, these charges could lead to a fine of $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year. Therefore, if you are charged with possessing dirty drug paraphernalia, it is imperative you work with a defense lawyer from Raiser and Kenniff who specializes in these cases.
Selling Drug Paraphernalia
While being caught in possession of drug paraphernalia is in itself a serious charge, facing additional charges of selling drug paraphernalia can be even more serious. In these instances, you may be facing potential felony charges, as well as fines of as much as $5,000, plus maybe two years in jail. Thus, if you have been caught in possession of drug paraphernalia with the intent of selling it, you will need to work closely with an experienced defense lawyer to get a reduced sentence or have the charges dismissed altogether.
School Zones and Minors
While possessing or selling drug paraphernalia is a serious enough charge if done with adults, it is looked upon by the courts as even more serious if children are involved. Thus, if you are charged with possessing and possibly selling drug paraphernalia in a school zone or to minors under the age of 18, be prepared to face even harsher penalties. In most cases, you will be facing felony charges, large fines, and possibly prison sentences. Due to the extremely serious nature of these charges, you will need to rely on the expertise of drug paraphernalia defense lawyers who are skilled in handling such cases, such as the attorneys at Raiser and Kenniff.
Consequences of These Charges
If you think these charges are minor and will not impact your life in a negative fashion, think again. If you are found guilty of these charges, not only will you pay fines and likely receive jail or prison sentences, but there will also be many other consequences as well that follow you over the course of your life. Along with the embarrassment of having a criminal record, drug charges and convictions make it very difficult to obtain employment in many areas, including law enforcement, teaching, and any other jobs that involve working around children.
Confusing and Complex Cases
Since these cases can involve multiple persons and contain many different elements that may determine the outcome, it is crucial to work with attorneys who know how to build strong defenses for their clients. Therefore, if you find yourself facing drug paraphernalia possession charges and are wondering what to do next, call on the attorneys at Raiser and Kenniff for assistance.