Prosecutors routinely charge Floridians with possessing controlled substances, including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. If you are facing these charges, you may also have to defend yourself against accusations of possessing drug paraphernalia.
In Florida, possession of drug paraphernalia is usually a first-degree misdemeanor. Upon conviction, you may face up to a year behind bars, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. Possession of drug paraphernalia may also be a federal crime, although U.S. attorneys rarely prosecute cases where the only charge is possession of drug paraphernalia.
Florida’s expansive definition
Florida law has an expansive definition of “drug paraphernalia.” Essentially, anything you can use to create, ingest or distribute controlled substances probably meets the statutory definition. Under the right circumstances, even a spoon or kitchen scale may constitute drug paraphernalia.
In addition to facing some immediate penalties following a conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia, you may also be at risk for some life-related consequences. For example, you may have to deal with a criminal record for the rest of your life. This may make it difficult to secure financing for college, land a job or move into a rental property.
While criminal charges can scare anyone, you probably do not have to stand idly by while prosecutors pursue a conviction against you. After all, there are some common defenses to drug paraphernalia charges. These include the following:
- Illegal search and seizure
- Legal use of the paraphernalia
- Lack of knowledge about the possession of paraphernalia
- Lack of a controlled substances
Because your available defenses likely depend on the facts of your arrest, you should not wait to explore your options. Ultimately, by acting quickly and diligently, you may be able to avoid the criminal penalties and associated consequences that often accompany a conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia.