Federal law prohibits the use and sale of drug paraphernalia, so even when a person is not arrested for drug possession, he or she could still end up spending time in prison if found in possession of certain items. Arrests for possessing, selling, or transporting drug paraphernalia are often the result of illegal searches or seizures, so if a defendant can establish that a search was unlawful or that he or she was not the owner of the items that were seized, that individual could have his or her charges reduced or even dismissed. If you were recently arrested for and charged with possessing or selling drug paraphernalia, it is critical to speak with an experienced federal crimes attorney who can help you formulate a defense.
Defining Drug Paraphernalia
The term drug paraphernalia refers to equipment that is primarily used in the production, concealment, or consumption of illegal drugs, such as cocaine, marijuana, PCP, hashish, and methamphetamine. Drug paraphernalia includes, but is not limited to the following items:
- Roach clips, which are used to hold burning materials when they become too small to hold in the hand;
- Miniature spoons with a capacity of one-tenth of a cubic centimeter or less; and
- Certain types of pipes, including those made of metal, wood, acrylic materials, stone, glass, plastic, or ceramic.
While some of these items obviously qualify as drug paraphernalia, it is not always easy to distinguish unlawful products from those that are legal. This is often the result of misleading marketing, which is designed to make a product look as though it is used for legitimate purposes. For example, some marijuana bongs and pipes come with disclaimers stating that they are only intended to be used with tobacco products. For this reason, people should consider the following factors before making a decision to purchase this type of item:
- The manner in which the items are displayed for sale;
- Whether instructions come with the packaging; and
- Assessing the nature of the type of business that is selling the items.
Unfortunately, even those who are careful when making purchases could end up buying an item that qualifies as drug paraphernalia. This is especially common amongst those who purchase items online, although some types of paraphernalia are sold at tobacco shops and gas stations.
Selling/Transporting Drug Paraphernalia
It is a violation of federal law to sell, use the mails to transport, or to import or export drug paraphernalia. In some cases, those who are found in possession of these items may also be charged with additional offenses, such as drug sales or possession. Defendants who are convicted of this offense face up to three years in prison.
Call Today to Discuss Your Case with a Miami Federal Crimes Lawyer
If you were arrested for possessing, using, or selling drug paraphernalia, you could be facing serious jail time. Please contact a member of the Miami federal crimes legal team at Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys by calling 305-670-9919 for a free case evaluation.