What Qualifies as Drug Paraphernalia?
When people think of drug crimes, one that’s often overlooked is possession of drug paraphernalia. But you don’t even have to have drugs on your person or in your home to be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. You can be arrested just for having certain items that are associated with consuming, manufacturing, or distributing controlled substances.
This begs the question, what qualifies as drug paraphernalia? That’s what we wanted to write about today, so keep reading to learn more.
Definition of Drug Paraphernalia
According to the Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Control Act, the term “drug paraphernalia” refers to any equipment, materials, or products used or intended to be used to plant, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, package, prepare, test, store, contain, or conceal a controlled substance. It also includes devices that could be used by someone to ingest, inhale, inject, or otherwise use a controlled substance. There are also two separate definitions of drug paraphernalia that are specific to methamphetamine and cannabis, which can be found in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act and Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, respectively.
Practically speaking, drug paraphernalia includes but is not limited to things like:
- Kits used to manufacture, compound, process, or prepare controlled substances like cocaine or heroin
- Certain chemicals used in the preparation of or to dilute controlled substances
- Carburetion pipes, tubes, and similar devices
- Smoking masks
- Miniature spoons
- Small vials that could be used to store cocaine or heroin
- Water pipes, carburetor pipes, air-driven pipes, and ice pipes
Finally, the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act includes a catch-call clause stating that anything that is described or announced by its seller for a use that violates the Act can be considered drug paraphernalia.
Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Under Illinois law, possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor. Potential penalties include a minimum $750 fine, though the fine could go as high as $2,500. You could also face up to 364 days in jail.
While these penalties may seem fairly minor, especially in comparison to the penalties for other drug crimes, it’s important to remember that people are rarely charged solely with possession of drug paraphernalia. When possession of drug paraphernalia is included as part of a broader criminal case, the additional charges could trigger additional penalties that are much steeper than those for simple possession of paraphernalia. This is partly why it’s so important to speak to a lawyer as soon as you can if you’re accused of possessing drug paraphernalia.
How We Can Help If You’re Accused of Possessing Drug Paraphernalia
We hope we’ve made it clear that you should treat being charged with possessing drug paraphernalia as seriously as you would any other drug charge. Here’s what our criminal defense lawyers can do for you if you’re accused of possessing drug paraphernalia:
- Explain the charges against you and the potential penalties. We can tell you what exactly you’re being accused of possessing and what penalties you may face, depending on the items in question. If you are facing additional charges, we can explain those as well, along with the potential penalties and the next steps in your case.
- Uphold your rights. You have certain rights under state and federal law if you’ve been arrested. These include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to know the charges against you, and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. These rights are critical to making sure you’re treated fairly by police and prosecutors during your case. We can help protect you from any unconstitutional actions by law enforcement officials.
- Build your defense. By looking at the evidence against you, we may discover that it’s possible to have the charges against you dismissed or reduced, sparing you from the worst possible penalties. For example, if the paraphernalia seized by police was obtained through an illegal search, we can seek to have that evidence dismissed, which could lead to prosecutors abandoning their case.
- Negotiate a plea agreement. If it’s in your best interest to do so, we can work with police and prosecutors to secure a plea agreement that reduces the charges and potential penalties you may face.
- Represent you in court. You’ll likely have to attend several court hearings as part of your case, even if your case never reaches the trial stage. These hearings are critical, and it’s important to have someone with you who knows what’s happening and what to do. Our lawyers have extensive courtroom experience and can guide you through these tense hearings.
Don’t Go Through It Alone. Call Bruno Law Offices Today
A possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious issue, though it may not seem like it. Contact the Champaign drug crime lawyers of Bruno Law Offices right away if you need a criminal defense lawyer. You can reach us at (217) 328-6000 or by visiting our contact page.