Both state and federal law prohibit and set strict restrictions on controlled substances. Possessing even a small amount of a majority of these controlled substances without proper authorization is illegal, and can result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Possessing Schedule I substances more often leads to felony charges for which harsh penalties could ensue if one is convicted. Drug laws in Florida are so harsh that even possessing items commonly used in connection with controlled substances — such as anything that can help you ingest, sell, manufacture, or cultivate them, is also a criminal offense.
Defining Drug Paraphernalia in Florida
Section 893.147 of the Florida Statutes defines drug paraphernalia as anything that is used to:
In addition, it is illegal to possess anything used to inject, inhale, or otherwise introduce controlled substances to the body.
Some of the more common items that have led to drug paraphernalia charges include pipes, vaporizers, rolling papers, storage bags, scales, capsules, vials, and chemicals used to make synthetic drugs like meth; which, unlike marijuana and heroin, is not derived from a plant.
Possessing Drug Paraphernalia
Simple possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor crime of the first degree. Penalties for first degree misdemeanors in Florida include up to a year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. In addition, if this is a first offense it will open up a criminal record.
To show possession of drug paraphernalia, prosecutors must prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt. These charges typically accompany charges of drug possession, which could be misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the type of drug, the quantity, and other facts of your case.
Delivering Drug Paraphernalia
South Florida contains many shops that sell items that could be construed as paraphernalia, even right here in West Palm Beach. The items themselves are not illicit; they are prohibited if they are possessed with intent to illegally use controlled substances. At times, prosecutors may be able to prove associates at these stores knew the items they sold would be used for illegal substances. In these cases, the seller of these items can be charged with a third degree felony for delivery of drug paraphernalia. The manufacturers can also be charged. A third degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Drug Paraphernalia Attorney in West Palm Beach
Misdemeanor and felony drug paraphernalia charges can accompany other drug charges. All these charges combined can lead to a whirlwind of strict penalties if convicted. You cannot take a chance on your future by not hiring a competent attorney to defend every one of these charges. For over 25 years, Brian Gabriel has served West Palm Beach as a tough criminal defense attorney who stands up for the rights of the criminally accused.
If you are facing drug charges in West Palm Beach, contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel or call 561-622-5575 to schedule a free consultation with attorney Brian Gabriel. You must act quickly to work toward a strong case.