Possessing illegal drugs in Maryland can lead to serious charges. But you can also be prosecuted for possessing drug paraphernalia – objects or items related to the processing and use of drugs.
Usually, drug paraphernalia doesn’t lead to severe charges in the same way that possessing narcotics like heroin or cocaine can lead to drug crimes. But it’s still important to understand the consequences of possessing drug paraphernalia.
What is drug paraphernalia?
Drug paraphernalia is an umbrella term referring to any object used to either use a drug or to process a drug for use or distribution.
Commonly outlawed drug paraphernalia include:
- Objects used to smoke narcotics, like bongs, pipes and roach clips
- Miniature spoons, commonly used to snort cocaine
- Kits used to freebase cocaine
- Scales used to weigh narcotics
- Syringes intended to inject narcotics
- Chemicals specifically used to dilute or “cut” narcotics
Often, an object considered drug paraphernalia may also be used for non-drug-related purposes. To prove that an item is drug paraphernalia, police will inspect it for drug residue to demonstrate that it was being used for illicit purposes.
Penalties for possessing drug paraphernalia
In most cases, possessing drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor. Punishments for drug paraphernalia can range from 30-90 days of jail time and fines from $250-$1,000.
In some cases, drug paraphernalia charges can be escalated to a felony, usually if involving the sale or distribution to minors.
Frequently, drug paraphernalia charges will be paired with drug possession or possession with intent to distribute charges.
Drug paraphernalia charges are usually related with drug possession charges, but there are significant differences in how they’re handled. Understanding your rights and options in a case involving drug paraphernalia is vital to getting the best possible outcome for yourself.