If you’ve been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in TX, it’s important to understand that it has serious consequences.
You may think that you can simply pay off the fine, do the community service, and go on with your life. But even though it’s a misdemeanor charge, a conviction could impact you in serious ways. Not only could you be facing jail time and fines, you could also facing limitations in the future when it comes to getting a job, renting an apartment, or driving a vehicle.
What Are the Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in TX?
Possession of drug paraphernalia is typically charged as a Class C misdemeanor. As the least severe criminal charge in Texas, a Class C misdemeanor carries no jail time and a maximum $500 fine. In certain cases, however, possession of drug paraphernalia can be escalated to higher misdemeanors or even felonies.
Regardless of what type of charge you receive, your license will automatically be suspended for the next 180 days. If you are under 21, the suspension will last for an entire year.
If the police charge you with attempting to deliver the paraphernalia for someone else’s use or manufacturing the paraphernalia for someone else’s use, they can charge you with a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia comes with a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail. If you have a prior conviction, you may face a minimum 90-day sentence. Additionally, you may face a fine of $4,000.
What Constitutes Drug Paraphernalia?
Essentially, drug paraphernalia is any tool used in the process of smoking, shooting, manufacturing, growing, weighing, testing, storing, etc. in conjunction with a controlled substance. If the tool is going to be used to consume or process the controlled substance in any way, it can be considered drug paraphernalia. This may include:
- Rolling papers,
- Heat sinks,
- Hollowed out apples,
- Spoons, etc.
However, how does the police officer know that you’re not using your bong or hookah for its intended purpose of smoking high-quality tobacco products? Well, they don’t. If your drug attorney can show that you were using the object for a legitimate or authorized purpose, or if the prosecutor is unable to prove that the object was intended for illegal use, you may be able to have the charges against you dropped.
Defending You From Drug Paraphernalia Charges
Your attorney can help you develop a solid defense to combat a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia in TX.
The burden of proof is on the state to show that the object in question was intended for illegal drug abuse. For example, if you had a doctor’s prescription to use a device that administers a legal controlled substance, this cannot be charged as a criminal act.
Proving possession isn’t merely a matter of proving that the drugs or paraphernalia belonged to you personally. The prosecution must prove that you knew that the paraphernalia was used for an illegal purpose. Your attorney may try to prove that you were unaware you were in possession and therefore did not have criminal intent.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
Law enforcement officers are prohibited from conducting illegal searches of property, including vehicles. If a police officer pulls you over for having a busted tail light and then starts going through your glove box and pockets, your drug attorney may be able to claim that the search was unlawful and have any evidence obtained during the search thrown out.
Talk to Fort Worth Drug Lawyer Today
If you’ve been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in TX, it’s crucial to speak to a criminal defense attorney who can help you protect your future. Contact Hoeller & McLaughlan, PLLC today to learn more.