Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Florida
Definition of Drug Paraphernalia
The term drug paraphernal is defined in Florida Statute 893.145 to mean all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, transporting, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia involves the possession of the object used in relation to controlled substances. Under Florida Statute 893.147, it is illegal to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, or conceal a controlled substance in violation of this chapter. It is also illegal to use drug paraphernalia to inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance.
What is Drug Paraphernalia?
Many people assume that possession of drug paraphernalia includes tools that are designed to be used with controlled substances. On the contrary, everyday household objects can count as drug paraphernalia under the right circumstances. Drug paraphernalia can include: pipes, syringes, bongs, rolling papers, kitchen scales, crack pipes, syringes, and even plastic zip bags.
Manufacture or Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia is Illegal in Florida
It is also illegal for any person to deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia. The defendant must be manufacturing or delivering drug paraphernalia with the intent to plant, grow, produce, store, inject, ingest, or conceal a controlled substance. Transporting drug paraphernalia knowing it will be used to transport a controlled substance or contraband is also illegal in Florida.
Penalties for Drug Paraphernalia Charges in Florida
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida. Those who are convicted of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia face up to a year in a Florida county jail or a year of probation with a $1,000 fine. In many cases, defendants will face additional charges along with the drug paraphernalia charges. Many defendants face drug paraphernalia and drug possession charges at the same time.
Determination of Paraphernalia
Some of the things that a court or jury may consider in determining whether an object is drug paraphernalia (Florida Statute 893.146):
- Proximity to object
- Proximity of the object to controlled substance
- Residue of controlled substance on the object
- Instructions or descriptive materials with the object concerning use
- Any advertising concerning its use
- The manner in which the object was displayed for sale
- Expert testimony regarding its use
Defenses Against Drug Paraphernalia Charges in Florida
The defendant can raise the defense of temporary possession. In this defense, the defendant argues that he or she was only transporting the paraphernalia to another person and was not the true owner. If law enforcement discovered the paraphernalia during the defendant’s drug overdose, the defendant can ask the court to suppress the evidence.
As always, defendants can argue that law enforcement exceeded their authority when they searched the defendant’s vehicle or house. Also, if law enforcement did not have a legally valid search warrant, or searched the home in bad faith, the defendant can request that the court throw the evidence out. Finally, defendants can argue that they were not in actual or constructive possession of the drug paraphernalia.
Some of the potential defenses include:
- Temporary possession
- Fourth amendment violation due to unlawful search and seizure – this could be an unlawful search of your vehicle or an unlawful search of your pockets.
- Drug Overdose Defense
- Constructive Possession
Why You Need an Experienced Defense Lawyer
There are many different compelling legal defenses to drug paraphernalia charges. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, we have represented many clients in criminal defense cases. We fight hard for our clients throughout the entire process. We investigate our client’s claims to find all of the relevant evidence to show that our client is not guilty. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Drug Paraphernalia Resources
Florida Statute 893.145 – Drug Paraphernalia defined
Florida Statutes 893.147 – Drug Paraphernalia criminal statute
Florida Statute 893.21 – Drug Overdose Defense
Florida Statute 893.146 – Determination of Paraphernalia
Some Drug Paraphernalia Street Terms:
Bag, bindle, bowl, chipper, dime bag, dug out, gear, head shop, kit, one hitter, piece, pinchie, rig, roach clip, artillery