Pennsylvania law outlaws the possession of drug paraphernalia as an ungraded misdemeanor punishable with up to a year in jail and a $2500 maximum fine. Compare this with the charge for possession of a small amount of marijuana, which has a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, and you’ll see our drug laws are in serious need of reform. Counter-intuitively, it is the paraphernalia charge which is the more serious charge.
Many people don’t even know exactly what qualifies as “drug paraphernalia” and paraphernalia can include many things beyond just a simple bowl or pipe. In Pennsylvania, drug paraphernalia is defined as any device, which is used or is intended to be used for the purpose of planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance. The definition covers a lot of different products. It can be something obvious like a pipe, bowl, bong, rolling papers or syringes. However, it covers a lot of other things as well including baggies and envelopes, razor blades, grinders, mirrors, scales, and straws. In cases, with particularly zealous prosecutors, someone may find themselves with several paraphernalia charges for each and every object in their possession used in the drug use process. Even in some cases everyday items like apples or soda cans that have been modified to smoke marijuana have been held to be drug paraphernalia.
What’s important in a drug paraphernalia case isn’t what the object is, but the intent surrounding its use. Pipes used to smoke tobacco are perfectly legal. Those same pipes that are possessed with the intent to use them to smoke weed are not. Some may believe that a pipe with no drug residue on it can not be paraphernalia. That is not the case. Coupled with other evidence that shows that the pipe was meant to be used to smoke marijuana, it may indeed be charged as paraphernalia.
If you have been charged with the possession of drug paraphernalia, its important that you retain an attorney immediately to protect your interests and your professional future. Attorney Frank Walker can advise you on the potential outcomes associated with the case, and make sure your future remains bright beyond the resolution of these charges.
Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia. Attorney Walker is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense, Super Lawyers and qualified as a Pennsylvania Death Penalty Defense Attorney.
If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident in WV or PA, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-532-6805, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation following a serious accident or injury.
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