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What Happens if I’m Caught with Drug Paraphernalia?

How Serious Is a Drug Paraphernalia Charge?

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) defines drug paraphernalia as any equipment, product, or material that is primarily intended or designed for manufacturing, compounding, converting, concealing, producing, processing, preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance. Alternatively, you can think of drug paraphernalia as accessories that help a person produce, conceal, or consume illegal drugs.

While drug paraphernalia possession charges are much less severe than drug possession charges, that doesn’t mean you won’t get into serious legal trouble if you get caught. To put it into perspective, the federal government will typically impose a 3-year prison sentence and a fine to be determined by a judge if you are convicted of committing one or more of the following acts:

  • Selling or offering for sale drug paraphernalia
  • Using the mails or any other facility of interstate commerce to transport drug paraphernalia
  • Importing or exporting drug paraphernalia

In Wisconsin, possession of drug paraphernalia may result in a $500 fine and/or a sentence of up to 30 days in jail. Although 30 days in jail is significantly less time than 3 years in jail, the bottom line is that you may have to spend time behind bars, pay steep fines, and suffer a criminal record if convicted of either state or federal charges.

Common Drug Paraphernalia

The DEA identifies several examples of drug paraphernalia that people use to ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into their bodies marijuana, cocaine, hashish, hashish oil, PCP, methamphetamine, or amphetamines. These items include, but are not limited to:

  • Pipes
    • Water pipes
    • Electric pipes
    • Chamber pipes
    • Carburetor pipes
    • Ice pipes
  • Bongs
  • Syringes
  • Carburetion tubes and devices
  • Smoking and carburetion masks
  • Roach clips
  • Chillums
  • Wired cigarette papers
  • Cocaine freebase baskets

Can Drug Paraphernalia Charges be Dropped?

The first thing that comes to mind for many suspects is, “Can I beat my charges?” The answer is, “It’s possible with the help of a good lawyer.”

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your alleged offense, a skilled attorney may be able to argue that your possession of drug paraphernalia charges should be reduced or dropped altogether for reasons such as:

  • The paraphernalia was not yours
  • The police lacked probable cause to search you
  • The items were not intended for drug production, concealment, or use
  • You were subject to a sting operation (entrapment)
  • Duress

If you would like to talk to our experienced Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer and learn about your potential legal options, please contact us at (414) 882-8382 today!