Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Many drugs utilize unique tools and are consumed using special equipment. The Arizona legal system recognizes this, and classifies all drug paraphernalia as illegal. The term “drug” in this case refers to dangerous drugs, narcotics, marijuana, or peyote.
Crimes Associated with Drug Equipment and Tools
There are many classes of drug paraphernalia. Some are used to grow, plant, harvest, manufacture, produce, and test in drug manufacturing, while others are used to package, store, conceal, or contain drugs for selling and transportation. Illegally possessing any of this specialized equipment is punishable under Arizona law. Knowingly delivering such paraphernalia is also a crime, as is advertising the sale of these tools. Promoting the sale of drug paraphernalia in any way is a violation of Arizona law.
Violating any of these legal provisions is considered a class 6 felony. The maximum prison sentence for a class 6 felony is 1.5 years, and anything determined to be drug paraphernalia will be confiscated upon arrest.
Identifying Drug Paraphernalia
Authorities must prove an object is paraphernalia before they can make an accusation. This may seem like a vague category, but there are many things that fall under this classification. To determine if an object is being illegally used or promoted, authorities consider any prior convictions a person has related to drugs or similar crimes. Important factors include the proximity of the object to any drugs or drug residue on the item itself. If there are any instructions present explaining through words or pictures its use relating to drugs, it is considered paraphernalia.
Manufacturing and planting materials for drugs and marijuana, for example, are considered paraphernalia. In fact, some of the most commonly confiscated drug equipment is related to the use of marijuana. Pipes of any kind with marijuana residue are illegal in the state of Arizona, as are water pipes, carburetion masks, roach clips, and bongs. Testing equipment, chemistry tools, and chemicals for manufacturing drugs are illegal outside of their official laboratory use, or without the proper licensure.
For investigations involving items being sold, the advertisement and display of the object related to its use is an important consideration. The legitimacy of the seller’s store and supply of materials helps determine what is or isn’t paraphernalia. Any legitimate, non-drug related uses for the object will be considered, as will expert testimony regarding an item’s function and classification.
Legal Consequences for Possession
Possession of drug paraphernalia is not as serious as many other drug related crimes. Most first-time offenders will not go to prison, particularly if what they have is determined to be for personal use. However, possessing manufacturing, planting, or harvesting equipment can be more serious. If a person has illegal drugs on hand at the time of their arrest, any associated paraphernalia can be interpreted as intent to manufacture. This will intensify the charges; intent to manufacture prescription drugs is a class 1 misdemeanor. Possessing equipment to manufacture dangerous drugs is a class 3 or a class 2 felony, depending on the substance being created or used.
Possession of drug paraphernalia can be a nebulous charge, due to the nature of many objects commonly used to ingest drugs. If you are accused of possessing drug paraphernalia in Phoenix, contact the Law Offices of Scott David Stewart and speak with Attorney Scott Stewart today.