You may not be aware, but did you know you could be charged with a criminal offense relating to drugs even if you do not have any drugs on you? How is this possible? Under Georgia’s drug laws, possessing drug paraphernalia is grounds for criminal charges. You could be facing a misdemeanor offense if you are caught with drug paraphernalia, regardless if you have actual drugs.
What is drug paraphernalia?
Drug paraphernalia is simply any type of mechanism that can be used to ingest or manufacture an intoxicating substance. Typically, these items include syringes, pipes, beakers and bongs. Drug paraphernalia can also be something that is used to conceal or distribute drugs such as bags or scales. Common drug paraphernalia items include:
- Rolling papers
- Roach clips
- Pipes, made usually from metal, glass, wooden, acrylic or plastic
- Small spoon used with heroin
Drug paraphernalia penalties
Being caught with drug paraphernalia can lead to a conviction that would include a maximum jail time of one year in prison and fines up to $1,000. Your criminal history with drug possession can also play a role in how severe you may be charged. Many times, a penalty for drug paraphernalia possession in Georgia will just include a fine, probation and you may be subject to drug testing.
Most of the time, a person who is arrested for drug possession will also be charged with paraphernalia possession since the two items usually go together. Prosecutors may use the paraphernalia charge as a bargaining tool to get a guilty plea on the drug charges. For example, they may drop the paraphernalia charge if you admit guilt to drug charges.
If you have been caught possessing drug paraphernalia, you should take the charge seriously. Besides potential jail time and fines, if you do not have a criminal history, having a record for any offense relating to drugs can have a negative impact on future employers and even for college acceptance.
Contact an experienced attorney right away to assist with your drug paraphernalia case. There can easily be questions about the validity of the paraphernalia, how a search for the paraphernalia was conducted and if there were any actual drugs found.