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Paraphernalia is defined as any device that is used for unlawfully either injecting or smoking a controlled substance. The items themselves are specifically defined in the statute as actual controlled substances. If you have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, seek the services of a skilled Oakland drug paraphernalia lawyer. A drug defense attorney could help you build your defense.

Examples of Drug Paraphernalia

As an Oakland drug paraphernalia lawyer might explain, common examples of drug paraphernalia seen in court are:

  • Syringes
  • Scales
  • Growing kits
  • Heat lamps
  • Certain chemicals or ingredients that are used to mix with controlled substances

How Are Paraphernalia Charges Treated?

Paraphernalia charges in Oakland and throughout California are misdemeanors, so they are handled in misdemeanor courts. The person is not likely to see any jail sentence. They are more than likely going to be placed on probation or perhaps on a drug diversion. This is not to say the crimes are not treated seriously but because it is a misdemeanor and not a felony, the risks of significant jail time and high fines are not there. The majority of drug paraphernalia cases can be handled through drug diversion, which could result in the case being dismissed.

What is Law Enforcement’s Role in Discovering Drug Paraphernalia?

The majority of the time, law enforcement on the street will discover drug paraphernalia after contacting somebody, either for criminal investigation or even for a non-criminal purpose. The drug paraphernalia may be observed by law enforcement on a person’s possession or discovered after a search of a person who is being detained and subsequently arrested for any offense, even if it is a non-drug offense. In the course of a search, if they find drug paraphernalia on a person, that will be an additional charge, regardless of what the original basis for the detention and arrest was.

Rights When Caught With Drug Paraphernalia

In terms of a person’s rights when caught with drug paraphernalia, someone charged with a drug paraphernalia offense can avail themselves of drug diversion, provided they do not have certain priors or previous drug diversion. Also, separate entirely from fighting a case with drug diversion, somebody has the right to attack the search and seizure of the drug paraphernalia by law enforcement. In terms of the drug paraphernalia items were recovered during an unlawful search or unlawful seizure, that person has the right seek to have the court suppress the items themselves. If the court does in fact suppress the items, the district attorney will be forced to dismiss the case because without the items, there really is no case. An Oakland drug paraphernalia lawyer could help protect a person’s rights, following an arrest for drug paraphernalia.

Drug Paraphernalia Consequences

Under California drug law, drug paraphernalia crimes are misdemeanors. The penalties would be up to one year in a county jail and fines up to $1,000.

The type of paraphernalia involved does not impact a charge. All drug paraphernalia are treated the same. The charge is a misdemeanor, so whatever particular device or item is the subject of the charge is not going to aggravate it. Whether a person has one or more items of drug paraphernalia is not going to increase the charge. It also does not matter what drug the paraphernalia is used for.

The Necessity of an Oakland Drug Paraphernalia Attorney

In order to lessen or eliminate the penalties that you face, an Oakland drug paraphernalia lawyer can do a couple of things. If drug paraphernalia charges are filed, an attorney could advocate for you to be referred to drug diversion. If you are successful on drug diversion, the entire case can be dismissed.

If there is a conviction for drug paraphernalia crimes and you are placed on probation, when that probationary period is over, the attorney can petition the court on your behalf, to have your record expunged. Speak with a criminal defense attorney to learn more.

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