Most people understand that the possession of certain controlled substances such as heroin, cocaine and even marijuana is considered a criminal act. As such, the idea that one could be on the receiving end of drug charges if caught holding any of these narcotics likely comes as no surprise.
However, what may come as a surprise is that it is also possible to be charged with possession of paraphernalia that in some manner can be employed in the use or distribution of controlled substances. This can be true even if you do not have any drugs in your possession at the time of your arrest.
According to federal law the following items are regarded as drug paraphernalia:
- Kits which contain implements used for freebasing or otherwise smoking cocaine.
- Small spoons typically used for the snorting of cocaine.
- Items known as "roach clips" which are used to hold small marijuana cigarettes.
- Bongs, water pipes and hollow, long pipes known as "chillums"
- Ceramic, glass, stone and wooden pipes.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of drug paraphernalia. Individual states have their own criteria of what constitutes an illegal drug-related item.
Typically, the penalties for drug paraphernalia charges are less severe than those for drug possession or distribution. But still, a federal conviction of paraphernalia charges can land you a three year prison term as well as a fine.
Possession of drug paraphernalia may not generally be considered as serious as other drug crimes by law enforcement, but if you are facing such charges you likely should take them very seriously indeed. Any drug charge can put a tremendous strain not only on your present situation, but on your future prospects and opportunities as well.
Therefore, if you have been charged with a drug crime, a Louisiana attorney who understands the laws, both federal and state, that pertain to your case may be able to help you with your defense.