When it comes to drug crimes, there is perhaps no more vague of an accusation
than possession of “drug paraphernalia.” In essence, this
law is designed to try and stamp down on people who have tools used to
ingest illegal narcotics or controlled substances. However, because so
many everyday household items can be used to do this, the laws have become
What the Laws Say
Pennsylvania’s drug paraphernalia statute is found in 35 P.S. §
780-113(a)(32), which reads “The use of, or possession with intent
to use, drug paraphernalia for the purpose of planting, propagating, cultivating,
growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing,
processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing,
containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing
into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this act.”
In short, having anything that can be used to ingest illegal drugs can
also be considered against the law.
However, drug paraphernalia can be almost anything, including spoons, razor
blades, or even small straws that you can get from your local coffee shop.
Why are those not considered drug paraphernalia while others are? The
answer lies in one word:
intent. Officers need to be able to demonstrably prove that an item was in someone’s
possession because they had the intent to consume narcotics or illegal
drugs. This is where the complexity comes in.
How is Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charged?
In short, this crime is not often charged on its own, but often alongside
other charges, including drug possession. The logic is that someone found
with something that could be seen as “drug paraphernalia”
as well as the controlled substance they consume with them could reasonably
argue that there was intent to use the items as drug paraphernalia.
However, what this means is that officers who legally conduct a search
and find you in possession of something like a smoking pipe, razor blades,
or small spoons most likely won’t be able to demonstrate your intent.
These items are not against the law, and possessing them isn’t either.
For this reason, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be charged
with possession of drug paraphernalia without also being charged with
possession of a controlled substance.
Here are some common examples of items that could be considered to be “drug
- Plastic baggies
- Thin joint papers
- Smoking pipes
- Metal spoons
- Measuring scales
- Needles or syringes
- Razor blades
- Small mirrors
If you have been accused of possessing a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia,
reach out to a skilled Scranton drug crimes attorney and retain high-quality
representation as soon as possible.
Call the Law Offices of William D. Thompson today at 570-846-2819 and let us fight for you!