Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia Under Florida Law
There are many different types of drugs, and just as many different ways for humans to pack, sell, and ingest them. Because of this, items like syringes, water pipes, scales, rolling papers, scales and containers of all shapes and sizes may be classified as drug paraphernalia, and possession of these items may get a person in trouble with the law in Florida. Obviously, there are legitimate uses for most of these items, but it is all too easy to face charges for possession if acceptable intent cannot be proven.
Very Wide Definition
Florida law defines drug paraphernalia in an extremely wide manner, listing all “equipment, products, and materials of any kind,” used for (or intended for or designed for use) in “planting, propagating, cultivating” … “ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing a controlled substance into the human body” as potentially being grounds for arrest. In theory, merely possessing the same type of container or kitchen scale used by criminals is grounds for a charge – but as one might imagine, the law cannot be enforced so indiscriminately.
Very often, a charge for possession of drug paraphernalia will come in tandem with a charge of drug possession, or possession with intent to sell. While this is not always the case, it is relevant to mention because many state’s attorneys will use a possession of paraphernalia charge as a bargaining chip of sorts – for example, while negotiating a plea-bargain. This does not, however, mean that you should not take such a charge seriously.
Consequences & Defenses
The penalties for being convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia are roughly in line with any other first-degree misdemeanor in Florida – up to 1 year in jail or 1 year on probation, plus fines and costs. That said, because of the frequency of a paraphernalia charge being coupled with other drug-related offenses, probation on this type of charge will often require treatment for substance abuse or other issues like anger management.
This presupposes, of course, that an individual does not have a perfectly legitimate reason to possess the items in question. A charge of drug possession (or possession of drug paraphernalia) hinges partly on whether a person had the intent to possess the item, and whether or not they knew it was unlawful to possess. If you are able to establish that you were in possession of an item such as a scale or a syringe, but you had a legitimate purpose for its use, it undermines any question of intent, making a conviction impossible.
Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Offenses Attorney
If you have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, contacting a West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from the firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help ensure your rights are protected in court. Florida prosecutes drug crimes aggressively, so an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference. Call our offices today to speak to an attorney.