When someone is charged with possessing drug paraphernalia, they are being accused of possessing materials used to consume an illegal drug. Depending on the details of an arrest, charged individuals could face both jail sentences and expensive fines.
Considering the harsh repercussions, it is recommended that you retain the services of an experienced attorney today. A Chattanooga drug paraphernalia lawyer could advocate on your behalf to get you the best result possible for your case.
Drug paraphernalia is an object used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body an illegal drug. One common example of drug paraphernalia is a glass pipe used to smoke marijuana or other narcotics. Other paraphernalia may include scale or rolling papers when found in conjunction with marijuana or other drugs.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a separate drug charge from possessing the drug itself. An individual could buy legal items from Walmart, Amazon, or other stores that become criminal drug paraphernalia under certain factual conditions. Rolling papers, spoons, pill crushers, and other items form a separate charge of possession of drug paraphernalia when found with illegal drugs.
As a Class A misdemeanor, a conviction carries up to 11 months and 29 days in jail. If a person is not sentenced to jail for a portion of that time, they are often put on probation. Class A misdemeanors also carry a fine of up to $25,000, as well as court costs in addition to the fine. There are enhancements for individuals with prior convictions for drug paraphernalia, such as mandatory minimum fines for those with prior convictions. A first-time conviction carries a $150 minimum fine. A second or subsequent conviction has a $250 fine.
One of the most common cases involving drug paraphernalia is an officer requesting consent to search the vehicle during a traffic stop. While searching a vehicle, an officer may discover an item such as a glass pipe with no accompanying narcotics. When this occurs, the officer will issue a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia.
It is imperative to remain silent and make no admission about who owns the paraphernalia in response to an officer’s question during the investigation. If they admit ownership over the paraphernalia, their case would become difficult to fight on the basis of their constructive possession of the item and whether or not it is drug paraphernalia. Not giving consent to search and remaining silent if there is a search being performed greatly increases one’s chances of avoiding the conviction.
The greatest protection a person has is the Fourth Amendment which grants them the right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure in the context of a drug arrest. Exercising this right depends on the individual remaining silent and avoiding any admissions to officers during the search and seizure of their personal property. Another right for people facing a drug paraphernalia investigation is the right to remain silent. All individuals need to exercise their right to remain silent to give themselves the opportunity to fight an unconstitutional arrest with their experienced counsel later on. However, it is important to note that this right could be limited for individuals on felony probation.
Being charged with a drug paraphernalia offense could bring about consequences you may not be ready to face. A conviction would not only result in a possible jail sentence, but it could tarnish your reputation both personally and professionally. That is why if you have been charged it is vital to seek the assistance of a Chattanooga drug paraphernalia lawyer. An experienced attorney could review the details of your case and help you overcome the charges made against you. Call today to get started.