What Qualifies as Drug Paraphernalia? 

You don’t have to be caught with drugs in the state of Texas to be charged with a drug-related crime. Being in possession of drug paraphernalia can cause a legal headache and wreck your personal and professional reputation. Yet, what exactly is considered drug paraphernalia? Plastic baggies are legal items, so why can they be considered drug paraphernalia? It can be challenging to ravel what can and can’t get you into legal hot water.

At the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, we want to break down some misconceptions surrounding drug paraphernalia and what can get you into legal trouble in Texas.

What Is Drug Paraphernalia?

The U.S. Department of Justice defines drug paraphernalia as any item or piece of equipment used to produce, conceal, or consume illegal or illicit drugs. Texas law goes a step further and defines drug paraphernalia as the materials that can be used for planting, cultivating, and processing a controlled substance. Items commonly used for growing or cultivating marijuana plants can be called drug paraphernalia.

Most people know items like bongs, pipes, and roach clips are categorized as drug paraphernalia, even though many of these items are cleverly marketed as being for tobacco use only. However, there are a wide variety of items that may be considered drug paraphernalia. The key to identifying drug paraphernalia typically lies with context clues that law enforcement must interpret.

Common Types of Drug Paraphernalia

drug parapheneliaSome of the most common items that may be flagged as being drug paraphernalia include:

  • Bongs
  • Pipes
  • Roach clips
  • Cigarette papers
  • Small spoons
  • Needles
  • Chillums
  • Scales
  • Plastic bags
  • Balloons
  • Mesh filters
  • Grinders
  • Sifters
  • UV growing lights
  • Capsules

Notice that some of these items are not, themselves, illegal items. However, these items can be categorized as drug paraphernalia through context clues. For example, if law enforcement finds trace amounts of a drug on a small spoon in someone’s back pocket, that spoon may be considered drug paraphernalia.

The problem with drug paraphernalia is that it can be bought just about anywhere and is easily accessible, even in Texas. Drug paraphernalia can commonly be found at head shops, novelty gift shops, convenience stores, and online retailers.

Texas Penalties for Drug Paraphernalia Conviction

A drug paraphernalia charge is a Class C misdemeanor offense in Texas. A drug paraphernalia conviction can result in a $500 fine but typically no jail time. Depending on the circumstances, an individual can also be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to deliver. This charge is a Class A misdemeanor offense and carries penalties of fines up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. An individual can be charged with this crime if they deliver, or attempt to deliver, drug paraphernalia to a minor. The offender must be at least 18 years of age, and there needs to be at least a three-year age difference between the offender and the minor recipient.

drug paraphenelia misdemeanor

While the penalties for drug paraphernalia charges may seem minor, they can cause significant problems for an individual’s reputation and career. A conviction will result in a criminal record. A criminal record can hinder you when it comes to finding a job, housing, obtaining credit, or seeking further educational opportunities.

Additionally, a drug paraphernalia charge may only be the tip of the iceberg. Other, more serious, drug-related charges could soon follow. Drug paraphernalia charges are often levied in conjunction with drug possession and drug trafficking charges, which carry much more significant penalties, including higher fines and longer incarceration.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you are facing a drug-related charge, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. You have legal rights and protections under the law. An attorney can help make sure that you are treated fairly.

An attorney can also review the circumstances of your case and build a compelling defense strategy that offers you the best chance possible at a favorable outcome for your situation. A drug charge, even a minor one, can haunt you for years to come. Do not put your future in jeopardy over a drug paraphernalia charge. Consult with a skilled Dallas drug paraphernalia attorney with the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter today.

Call our office at (214) 845-7007 for a legal consultation. Our seasoned defense attorney can discuss your case with you and help you understand the charges you are facing.


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