Drug paraphernalia charges can stand alone

When authorities make an arrest for drug charges, it is not unusual for the person in custody to face numerous related charges. For example, a charge for possession of a controlled substance may also involve a separate charge for possession of drug paraphernalia. Depending on the type and intended use of this paraphernalia, these additional charges may be quite serious.

Drug paraphernalia is any object that relates to the manufacturing, distribution or consumption of illegal drugs. If you are facing charges related to the possession or distribution of drug paraphernalia in Texas, you have a great deal at stake and may benefit from solid legal counsel as early as possible. A conviction for any drug crime, even a misdemeanor, can have long-reaching effects that can complicate many areas of your life.

What do police consider drug paraphernalia?

Each state has its own laws regarding the possession or distribution of drug paraphernalia, and the federal government also has a set of guidelines for identifying items used in the illegal drug trade. In general, possessing drug paraphernalia is often a misdemeanor charge, but selling or distributing it can bring more serious charges. In most states, if authorities accuse you of distributing drug paraphernalia to a minor, you may be looking at felony charges. Some common items that investigators may identify as drug paraphernalia include the following:

  • Scales
  • Items that analyze drugs for purity or strength
  • Items for packaging, storing or concealing drugs
  • Stone, glass, wood or ceramic pipes
  • Needles or syringes
  • Roach clips
  • Miniature spoons
  • Bongs, chillums or water pipes
  • Items for mailing or transporting drugs across state lines

If police find drug residue on an item, they may assume the object is drug paraphernalia. Of course, many household items may be used for manufacturing or ingesting drugs, such as spoons, foil and lighters. Even if investigators do not find drugs in your possession, you may still face charges if they find items they believe you used for unlawful acts involving drugs.

You may feel that a possession charge or a charge related to drug paraphernalia is not serious enough to worry about, but this is not true. A conviction for drug crimes on your record can affect your ability to find work, obtain federal student aid or benefit from other government assistance. For the best chance of minimizing the negative outcome, many in your situation find it helpful to obtain the representation of an experienced attorney.