In the Bronx and everywhere else in New York, possession of drug paraphernalia is a very serious offense. Paraphernalia related to drugs can be anything from items used to take drugs, to plant it, store it or make illicit drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine, LSD or anything else that is an illegal narcotic. A person can be arrested by the police for simply having a drug like marijuana stored in a small plastic bag. Additionally, it’s very common for drugs to be stored in laundry bins.
It’s important to note that possessing an item for drugs is not always illegal. If the device is unused, a person cannot be arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. For instance, some shops sell bongs as novelty items. If someone purchases one of these bongs but uses it as a knickknack and the item is found to be clean, with no traces of drugs, there is no possession of drug paraphernalia crime.
What Specifically is Considered Drug Paraphernalia in New York?
There are two categories of drug paraphernalia according to New York law. They are user-specific products and dealer-specific products.
• User-Specific Products: This category includes any item that is used by drug users for the purpose of taking or concealing an illegal drug. Examples of these items are pipes, bongs, roach clips, vaporizers, needles, grow kits and freebase kits.
• Dealer-Specific Products: This category includes items that are used by drug dealers and drug traffickers so that they can make and distribute illegal drugs. Examples of such items include chemicals, vials and scales, among others.
What Factors Do Courts Consider in a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Case?
Of course, New York state laws may vary from federal laws in regard to drug paraphernalia. As a result, it’s important to note that state law requires that courts must consider certain factors when determining whether an item can appropriately be considered drug paraphernalia. They include the following:
• Statements the owner of the item has made
• Whether or not the item has a legitimate use that does not include drugs
• If there is residue of any controlled substance on the item
• Whether the owner has any prior convictions for drug-related crimes
• How the item is advertised
• Testimony of expert witnesses and regular witnesses
What Else Should You Know About Drug Paraphernalia?
It is of utmost importance to remember that, although drug paraphernalia and even ingredients typically used to make drugs are not actually drugs. However, at the same time, law enforcement officials frequently treat those items as if they are drugs. If you find yourself in a situation where a police officer overzealously wants to arrest you and charge you with a drug-related crime simply for possessing a certain item, you may be able to get out of those charges. Having the right criminal defense attorney on your side is absolutely essential and can determine your future. Any type of drug charges can be very serious and carry serious consequences that can affect your good name. You may face lengthy prison time and later discover that your life is completely turned upside down even after you are released. Individuals who face drug-related convictions frequently find it difficult to find employment, rent a home, qualify for a loan and even get into a good college.
If you have been arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in the Bronx or anywhere else in New York, you must have a reputable criminal defense attorney working on your side. It is your best chance of having the charges against you reduced or even dropped. Be sure to contact an attorney at your earliest convenience.