Recently we talked about the “pot holiday,” 4/20, and some of the legal concerns that surround smoking marijuana in Florida. This week, we explore a seemingly lesser crime, possession, use or sale or drug paraphernalia. Under Florida law, drug paraphernalia is broadly defined as “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 . . . injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing to the human body a controlled substance. . . .” This can include anything from a syringe or pipe to a piece of foil, depending on the controlled substance being utilized.
Drug Paraphernalia Punishments in Florida
While several of the drugs used with paraphernalia may be charged as a felony, the criminal charge of possession of drug paraphernalia is a first degree misdemeanor. If charged, this crime carries a punishment of imprisonment for no more than one year, a fine of up to $1,000, and the possibility of other punishments, contingencies, or probationary periods. The charge of drug paraphernalia is typically charged in conjunction with another drug offense. Law enforcement must prove that the paraphernalia is being used or intended to be used with illegal drugs, so they usually include residue or drugs with the paraphernalia. Being in possession of a new glass bong is not illegal, however if you have the bong packed with marijuana, the officers can prove that you intended to use the pipe to smoke the weed.
Possession of drug paraphernalia can also escalate the severity of a routine traffic stop, if the officer views your paraphernalia in plain sight. Possession can also add additional charges to other severe crimes, such as murder, as exemplified by a recent shooting where drug paraphernalia was found on scene. This recent case demonstrates how seemingly benign items such as baggies and scales can give rise to drug paraphernalia charges. People who may not have been involved in a crime may be implicated in other crimes, simply due to the mere presence of drug paraphernalia. The bottom line is that carrying drug paraphernalia is just as illegal as possessing drugs themselves in terms of charges, punishments, and the negative implications on an offender’s life.
Florida Drug Paraphernalia Defense Attorneys
A drug crime conviction can ruin your life. You will face consequences with the legal system, your profession, and your family. Understanding your rights and responsibilities when you have been charged with a drug-related crime is necessary to determine the best possible outcome for your situation. At Moses & Rooth, our knowledgeable drug crime defense attorneys know how to navigate the criminal justice system to ensure you are treated fairly. As former prosecutors, we understand the intricacies of negotiation and how to advocate for our client’s best interest. If you or anyone you know has been charged with a drug-related crime, do not hesitate to contact our Orlando office for a free initial consultation at (407) 377-0150.