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Drug paraphernalia: the lesser-known drug charge

No one wants to be accused of a drug-related crime. Conviction for such an offense can have serious implications for your life, your family and your job. But while possessing and using narcotics is a well-understood offense, the related charge of paraphernalia is not.

What is drug paraphernalia?

Texas Health & Safety Code Section 481.125 defines drug paraphernalia and makes it a crime to use, possess or deliver any item which fits the definition. It applies to anything which is intended to be used for everything from cultivating and manufacturing an illegal controlled substance to introducing it into the body, by whatever means. This also includes storing or concealing the narcotic.

Although pipes and syringes are common examples of drug paraphernalia, the statute is in no way limited to them. Virtually anything, including everyday household items, can be considered drug paraphernalia if they are intended for an unlawful purpose. And it’s important to note that the statute does not require the presence of an actual drug to be convicted of the drug paraphernalia crime. It can be enough to have only the paraphernalia itself, depending on the circumstances.

Possible defenses

In any accusation of drug paraphernalia, a sound defense strategy is crucial. Because the intended use of the item is open to interpretation, law enforcement can easily make mistakes and draw incorrect conclusions about what a person possesses and why. Additionally, since such items are often found after law enforcement searches either the person or their vehicle, those searches are subject to scrutiny for constitutional violations. This is another area where law enforcement is prone to mistakes, which can lead to prohibiting the item from being used as evidence against the person charged.

 

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