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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

Drug paraphernalia charges in California

In California, people may be charged with possessing drug paraphernalia even if they are not also charged with drug crimes. It is illegal to possess the tools that are used to smoke or inject drugs, and law enforcement officers may file charges if people have the prohibited instruments.

Under federal law, people are prohibited from selling, mailing in interstate commerce, importing or exporting drug paraphernalia. Under the state law, it is possible for people to be charged with crimes for possessing drug paraphernalia. These charges are less serious than the charges that people might face if they are caught with illegal drugs, however.

There are two main categories of drug paraphernalia. One category includes the instruments that are used to help to sell drugs such as scales and baggies. Others are the instruments that are used to ingest drugs such as opium pipes, needles and spoons. Since some of these items may also be used for other purposes, the charges may depend on the items being found together. For example, police may charge people with possessing drug paraphernalia if they find a needle together with a blackened spoon and elastic bands or rubber tubing together when these items taken individually may not be considered to be drug paraphernalia by themselves.

People who are charged with possessing drug paraphernalia might want to talk to experienced criminal defense lawyers. While the charges may not be serious as compared to other drug crimes, they may still result in jail sentences, fines and other problems. People who have convictions for possessing drug paraphernalia may have more trouble securing employment because of the mark on their records. Attorneys may be able to win dismissal of the charges if it is unclear whether or not the items were used for drugs or if the searches were conducted in an unlawful manner by the police.

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