New York Drug Paraphernalia
According to our New York Drug Paraphernalia Defense Lawyer staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC, it is illegal for a person to possess items that could be considered drug paraphernalia. While most people think of drug paraphernalia as pipes and other devices used for taking drugs, drug paraphernalia can be items used for planting marijuana, storing marijuana, making methamphetamine or LSD or any other type of illegal narcotics. Basically, anything that can be used in drug-related offenses can be considered by law enforcement to be drug paraphernalia. For example, it's not uncommon for people to use laundry bins or plastic bags for storing marijuana or other drugs. When facing a drug arrest, the police may arrest someone for marijuana possession, but that person could also be charged for possessing drug paraphernalia because the drug was stored in a plastic bag. While this is an extreme example of a drug paraphernalia charge, our New York Drug Paraphernalia Defense Lawyer staff states the charge is fairly common.
Possessing an item used for drugs is not always illegal provided that the device is unused. Some shops will sell bongs and other items as novelty gifts. The buyer may not be prosecuted for drug paraphernalia provided that the device is clean and has no traces of being used for illegal drugs.
According to our New York Drug Crime Lawyer staff, drug paraphernalia is broken down into two categories, User-specific products and Dealer-specific products.
An item considered user-specific is something that's made for drug users to help them either take or conceal an illegal drug. Some examples of these items include bongs, pipes, needles, cocaine freebase kits, vaporizers, roach clips and grow kits.
A dealer-specific specific item is something that's used by dealers and traffickers to help them make and distribute controlled substances. These items include scales, vials, chemicals, etc.
According to the Federal Drug Paraphernalia Statute, it is against the law to possess, sell and transport drug paraphernalia. While the federal law has guidelines on what is and isn't drug paraphernalia, states have their own laws on what is drug paraphernalia and what is not.
If you are ever arrested and charged with a drug offense, our experienced New York Drug Paraphernalia Defense Lawyer staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC is knowledgeable drug laws and have successfully defended clients.
Because state laws often vary from federal laws when it comes to drug paraphernalia, it's important to keep in mind that state law says that the courts must take into account several factors when deciding if an item is to be labeled as drug paraphernalia. These factors include:
- Statements made by the item's owner
- Whether the item has a legitimate use outside of narcotics
- Residue of a controlled substance on the item
- Whether the owner has any prior drug convictions
- How the object is advertised
- Testimony of experts and other witnesses
What's important to remember is that drug paraphernalia and ingredients to make drugs are not drugs, but often law enforcement officials treat them as if they are. You may find that an overzealous officer wants to arrest you and charge you for a drug crime simply by possessing something that may be used for drugs. Even if you're innocent of a drug-related crime, you still may be convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia if you get a prosecutor who wants a conviction. Being convicted of possession of paraphernalia can be just as bad for your future and your reputation as a drug charges offense. You may be looking at serious prison time and you may find that life is extremely difficult once you get out of jail. It's not uncommon for a person convicted of possessing paraphernalia to find it hard getting a good job, getting a loan, renting a house or apartment and even getting into a good college.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you may be charged with two crimes should you be caught with a small amount of heroin or other drug. The prosecutor may charge you with possessing the actual drug, but may also opt to charge you with possessing paraphernalia because of the syringe that held the drug. Our experienced New York Drug Paraphernalia Lawyer team will fight against this stacking of charges. They may negotiate with the prosecutor to drop one of the charges or they may petition the judge to have the sentences run concurrently should the charges stick. While this may not be the outcome the accused hoped for, at least they won't have to serve two separate sentences.
If you've been arrested and charged with a drug-related crime, please don't say anything to law enforcement officials until you've had a chance to speak to our experienced Criminal attorney. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free consultation. Or contact one of our New York City offices serving the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, Manhattan or Brooklyn, or in Westchester County or one of our Long Island offices in Nassau County or Suffolk County.