How to Deal With Paraphernalia-Related Charges

Last Modified: February 1, 2024
By: Thomas HogleOctober 26, 2022 |

You may not have been aware, but paraphernalia-related charges are on the rise. While most of these individuals are in for drug use, sale and related crimes, a significant number are charged with paraphernalia possession. This is because many states still view pipes, bongs, and needles as tools used in unlawful activities - even though they're often purchased legally. And you need a pretty good criminal attorney to get out of this sticky situation.
It's common for people facing paraphernalia charges to express shock after being busted for owning, carrying, or using certain objects associated with drug use. But these individuals forget that carrying these items was a personal choice - even if they had nothing to do with unlawful activities themselves. It doesn't matter if you're found in possession or your roommate was; you could be arrested and charged.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself From an Unjust Outcome?

The first thing to do is recognize the charges and understand them. Then ask yourself this important question: Can I go to jail for this?
If your answer is yes, you'll need legal help that's tailored to your specific goals and needs. That includes hiring an attorney who understands the complexities of cannabis law in your state, as well as the consequences of paraphernalia-related charges.
You may also want to get educated on the law so that you know what's at stake. For example, it's helpful to know that possession charges have become more common in many states and counties than sale charges in recent years. Some people have even been arrested for possessing a pipe for standing near or driving with someone who is smoking marijuana in a non-legal state.

What Are the Consequences of Paraphernalia Charges?

While it's true that a paraphernalia charge may be dismissed at an early stage in some states, there could be serious consequences if you don't take the necessary action. And certain states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, and Indiana have zero-tolerance laws for paraphernalia possession. That means they treat it as a misdemeanor even if no other offenses are involved.
Paraphernalia charges can also result in serious jail time and result in losing important civil liberties. For example, these charges could show up on your criminal record and make it difficult to find work in the future. In some states, they may also cost you your right to vote or even lead to child custody issues.

What Should You Do If You Get Charged with Paraphernalia Possession?

Just because they have charged you with paraphernalia possession doesn't mean you're going to end up in jail. Speak with an attorney and get informed about the potential outcomes so that you know what kind of legal strategy is most appropriate for your situation.
If the court decides that your paraphernalia charges are not a severe threat, dismissal may be possible in the early stages of the case. But, a percentage of people will have to live with consequences such as loss of civil liberties and its negative impact on future prospects.
Possession charges can also be filed against someone who is convicted of a minor offense but was in possession of a controlled substance during the arrest. The person must then serve what's known as "clean-up" time before they are eligible for parole or mandatory release.
If that person is charged with possession during their clean-up time, they will be convicted, and the judge can issue a harsher sentence to make up for the shortened stay in jail. The offender's clean-up supervision time is also increased by one year. If the same violation happens again during that extended supervision, it could carry a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and a permanent criminal record.

Do Possession Charges Stick After Serving the Sentence?

Well, it depends on the state laws. Sometimes, they will not stick as long as you go through a diversion program or can show that you made serious efforts to make things right. It's important to remember that carrying a pipe may not be different from having one at home. And, there could be dire consequences if police find it on you. For this reason, we recommend replacing any paraphernalia with actual tobacco products if you live in a marijuana-restricted state.

How Should I Prepare for Paraphernalia Charges?

Depending on which state you're in, there could be different laws and thresholds for paraphernalia possession. Contact an attorney who specializes in this area if you have paraphernalia-related charges on your hands. You can also educate yourself about the law by reading pamphlets provided by your state to find out more about your rights and the possible consequences of the charges. Do this so that you know what kind of legal help you’ll need to prepare for the case.

Do You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney with Experience in Paraphernalia Charges?

If you think any of your paraphernalia could be seen as illegal, it's important to know that the first thing a police officer will do is look for evidence of unlawful drug use in your home or car. And since paraphernalia charges often involve drug laws, it's wise to work with an attorney who specializes in criminal law and knows how the courts interpret these rules.
While some people may handle this on their own, most people could benefit from having a legal team review all available information before proceeding to court. There may be times when a certain strategy is more likely to lead to favorable results. And it's important to know whether you could get in trouble for an initial paraphernalia possession charge or not. That means you should work with a criminal lawyer from the early stages of the case. This professional should help you come up with an appropriate defense strategy for your situation.
For more information and general advice, please visit

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Thomas Hogle
Thomas Hogle is a Principal Attorney at Genesis Criminal Defense and DUI Lawyers, leads a dedicated legal team specializing in criminal defense and DUI cases, offering comprehensive and skilled representation to clients facing legal challenges.
21321 E Ocotillo Rd Suite 125, Queen Creek, AZ 85142

Genesis DUI & Criminal Defense Lawyers - Peoria AZ Office

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