You may have heard the term thrown around on the news and TV shows, but what does it mean to be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in Florida? It is not unusual for someone to receive multiple drug-related charges on the same occasion, and possession of drug paraphernalia is usually one of them. Our criminal defense attorneys explain what you need to know about this drug-related offense and possible defense strategies an attorney can use to secure a favorable outcome.
Is Possession of Drug Paraphernalia a Crime in Florida?
Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes carries a detailed definition of what constitutes drug paraphernalia: “all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, transporting, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance (..)”.
In other words, keeping any object or equipment meant for the manufacturing or consumption of an illegal substance is considered a crime in Florida. It is also a crime to possess these objects with the intention of selling them. Possessing and/or selling drug paraphernalia are considered a first-degree misdemeanor.
What Other Drug Charges Are Commonly Associated With a Drug Paraphernalia Charge?
As mentioned previously, the offense of possession of drug paraphernalia often comes in conjunction with other charges such as possession of marijuana, possession with the intent to sell, and possession of controlled substances. Depending on the specifics of your case such as the type and quantity of drugs you are being charged with possessing, you may or may not receive jail time, but it is best to work with an attorney in order to keep your charges and penalties from escalating.
Does Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Lead to Jail Time in Florida?
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a crime in Florida but it is among the less serious drug offenses, as it is considered a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1000 and up to 12 months at a county jail. In most cases involving first-time offenders, officers may issue a Motion to Appear rather than formally arresting someone on this charge.
Drug paraphernalia possession can also become a third-degree felony if this is an individual’s second or third offense of the same kind. If delivering or providing drug paraphernalia to a minor, a person over 18 will likely be facing a third-degree felony with harsher penalties and jail time. Your situation can become more complicated if you are being charged with additional drug-related offenses.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
There are many moving parts to a drug-related case and sometimes simply pleading guilty right away may not be the best choice. An attorney can help you understand your charges and will analyze the evidence being presented against you by the prosecution. One of the first defense strategies your attorney may attempt is to question the legality of the search that resulted in the apprehension of the said evidence. If law enforcement did not have enough probable cause to conduct the search, your attorney may argue that your constitutional rights have been violated and the evidence resulting from the search is not admissible in court.
In other cases where a conviction cannot be avoided, an attorney may be able to negotiate a lesser penalty or even convince the judge to allow you to participate in Florida’s drug court program and complete a mandatory rehabilitation program instead of paying fines and going to jail. If you are being charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and/or additional drug-related charges, it is best not to risk everything by going it alone. Contact the legal team at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett and request a no-obligation case evaluation to see how we can help you fight back.