While it is completely legal to purchase certain items such as smoking pipes, rolling papers or scales, it can become illegal to possess these items when you are using them for nefarious purposes. Below we will discuss the implications of being charged with possessing drug-related paraphernalia.
Defining Drug Paraphernalia in New Jersey
In New Jersey, drug paraphernalia possession offenses are defined as situations where an individual is found to be in possession of objects filled with drugs, in proximity to controlled substances or containing residue from past drug use. This charge may also be levied against people who had an apparent intent to use the objects for drug use, sale, preparation, testing, packaging, concealing, ingestion, growing, planting or harvesting. The types of drug-related items that are prohibited include:
- Measuring scales
- Ziploc bags
- Prescription pads
- Marijuana pipes
- Crack pipes
- Rolling papers
- Marijuana seeds
- Cocaine vials
- Cutting agents
It’s important to note that these objects are not always considered drug paraphernalia. Most mothers, for example, purchase Ziploc bags regularly to use for children’s lunches. Police and courtrooms look at various factors when determining whether to classify an object as drug paraphernalia or not. These factors include:
- The proximity of the item to controlled substances
- Statements by the owner or witnesses concerning the object’s use
- Existence of controlled substance residue on the object
- Other evidence related to the intent of use
- The existence and scope of legitimate uses for the object
Consequences of Possessing Drug Paraphernalia
In the state of New Jersey, the possession or use of drug paraphernalia is classified as a disorderly persons offense. Getting convicted of such a crime may come with punishments as severe as:
- Fines up to $1,000
- Six months of jail time
- Suspension of driver’s license for up to two years
- Conviction on your permanent criminal record
Legal Defenses to Possessing Paraphernalia
There are some legal defenses you can use to fight a paraphernalia charge. If your rights were violated or evidence was obtained illegally, then you may have your charges dismissed. If you were using the paraphernalia object for legal reasons, then you may have grounds to fight your charges. If you are a first-time offender, then you may be eligible for a diversionary program with less severe consequences.
Contact an Experienced Moorestown Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Drug Paraphernalia Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorney at the Law Offices of Michele Finizio have successfully represented clients charged with drug paraphernalia possession in Moorestown, Camden, Cherry Hill, Washington Township, Monroe, Mount Laurel, Medford, and throughout New Jersey. Contact the firm at 856-242-7300 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 9 E. Main St, Moorestown, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.