Drug paraphernalia charges can be less severe than other drug-related offenses, but a conviction may result in expensive fines, a criminal record, and possible jail time, depending on the additional criminal activity involved. A drug paraphernalia charge often exacerbates a related drug offense.
A Hennepin County drug paraphernalia lawyer could evaluate your case and explore any defense that might be available. Even if you are skeptical about your chances of mounting an effective case, a skilled attorney could discuss your options and help you make the best choices regarding your next steps.
Items Considered Drug Paraphernalia
Drug paraphernalia can include any item that can be utilized to consume, process, manufacture, or test drugs, even if it has never actually been used. Items designed primarily for ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, hashish, and methamphetamines into the body are often involved in drug paraphernalia cases. Examples include:
- Roach clips
- Rolling papers
- Hash pipes
- Crack pipes
It is not always clear whether a particular item is illegal drug paraphernalia, but federal law provides factors that should be considered when making the determination. These factors include any oral or written instructions regarding the item’s use, descriptive materials found with the item, advertising related to the item’s use, and expert testimony regarding an item’s use. The statute also exempts certain items from the definition of drug paraphernalia, including those that are generally associated with tobacco products.
A Hennepin County lawyer would be familiar with the laws defining illegal drug paraphernalia and the specific exemptions from the definition.
Drug Paraphernalia Law and Penalties
Drug paraphernalia is illegal under both state and federal law, and both categories of statutes describe the specific items and activities that are illegal and set forth the penalties for violation.
State law makes the possession, manufacture, advertisement, and distribution of drug paraphernalia unlawful. The possible charges and penalties under this statute vary depending on the nature of the activity.
- Petty Misdemeanor: Simple use or possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a petty misdemeanor in Minnesota, with a maximum fine of $300 and no jail time. While illegal, this offense does not result in a criminal record.
- Misdemeanor: When a person is involved in the delivery or advertisement of drug paraphernalia or has previous convictions, the charge becomes a misdemeanor. This type of offense carries jail sentence of not more than ninety days and a maximum fine of $1,000. Misdemeanors are considered crimes and result in a criminal record.
- Gross Misdemeanor. If a person who is at least 18 years old knowingly delivers drug paraphernalia to a minor, and that person is at least three years younger than they are, the charge becomes a gross misdemeanor. This crime carries maximum penalties of a one-year jail sentence and a $3,000 fine. A gross misdemeanor conviction will result in a criminal record.
Simple possession of drug paraphernalia in Hennepin County is not a federal crime, but sales and distribution of paraphernalia may enhanced to this level. Federal law prohibits the sale, mailing, and import or export of drug paraphernalia. A federal conviction may result in a maximum three-year jail sentence plus a fine.
Reach Out to a Hennepin County Drug Paraphernalia Attorney
If you have been charged with possessing or selling drug paraphernalia, you may benefit from contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney. A Hennepin County drug paraphernalia lawyer could meet with you to learn the circumstances surrounding your case and help you develop a strategy to achieve the best available outcome. Call today for an initial consultation.