What Is Drug Paraphernalia?
Connecticut law on drug possession and trafficking establishes crimes that are committed when a person holds or sells illegal drugs (or legal drugs obtained illegally). However, there is another type of drug-related crime that is commonly charged, referred to as possession of drug paraphernalia. If you have been charged with this, either on its own or on top of a drug possession charge, it is crucial to understand that it can sometimes be treated as a relatively minor infraction, but in some cases, can lead to additional fines and even jail time.
Hard to Define
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a fairly common offense, with Connecticut law on the subject following the same patterns as are seen in other jurisdictions. The relevant statute holds that it is illegal to either use drug paraphernalia, or to possess it with the intent to use. The definition of drug paraphernalia, however, is extremely wide, covering seemingly every possible manner in which an item can be used to use, sell, or handle drugs - meaning that if you are arrested for drug possession, you may very well face a paraphernalia charge if anything even remotely related to drugs can be found in the near area or in your possession.
In order to establish your guilt in this particular crime, State’s Attorneys must prove that you had actual or constructive possession (essentially, either possession or control over the item) and that you knew what the item was and/or knew its purpose. So, for example, if you are asked to hold onto a water pipe for a friend, but do not know what it is, or know what it is used for, you cannot be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia because you had no intent to do so.
Serious Potential Consequences
If you are caught with anything that might be used as drug paraphernalia, you may be charged with possession or delivery (depending on the specific context), and while it may seem like a minor peccadillo, it is usually considered just as significant as a drug possession charge. If you are picked up with a small amount of cannabis in your possession, a paraphernalia charge may be treated as a non-criminal infraction, because Connecticut has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana (under one half-ounce), and to criminalize possession of related paraphernalia sends a conflicting message.
That said, if you are caught with paraphernalia related to the possession or usage of harder drugs (such as narcotics), it will be taken much more seriously. Connecticut law still sees harder drugs as more potent threats to society, and thus the state has a vested interest in shutting down people’s opportunities to use them. In those cases, paraphernalia possession will usually be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine and anywhere from three months to one year of imprisonment, depending on the specific situation of your arrest.
Call a Fairfield County Drug Paraphernalia Attorney
If you are charged with possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia, you need to contact an attorney who has experience with these types of cases, as it is all too easy to get caught up in the little details. Skilled Stamford criminal attorney Weiner has handled many of these matters, and the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner will work hard to protect your rights as you try to navigate the legal process. Call our offices today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.