Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
There are many different types of drug charges, but one of the offenses that takes many people by surprise is being arrested for the possession of drug paraphernalia. Although this offense often is charged in conjunction with charges for drug possession or another drug-related crime, it is possible for a person to find himself facing criminal prosecution because he was in possession of the wrong items, which might include a pipe used to smoke marijuana or scales and baggies used for the packaging of drugs for sale. It is critical to take these charges very seriously.
For almost 20 years, attorney David L. Freidberg has advocated on behalf of individuals who have been arrested or are being investigated for drug-related crimes. The very act of being charged with a crime such as possession of items associated with the possession, manufacture, delivery, or sale of drugs can impact a person’s future. Many times, the charges are unfounded or there are extenuating circumstances that justify a reduction in the offense with which a person is charged. The Law Offices of David Freidberg, P.C. work with our clients to get the best possible results.Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
A person who knowingly is in possession of items that are classified as drug paraphernalia can face serious criminal charges. Objects that might fall into this classification include items that can be used in violation of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, the Cannabis Control Act, or the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, including paraphernalia that can be used for:
- Planting cannabis;
- Propagating crops that can be used to produce illegal drugs;
- Cultivating or growing illegal substances or substances that can be used in the manufacture of drugs;
- Harvesting illegal crops;
- Manufacturing or compounding controlled substances;
- Converting, producing, processing, or preparing illegal drugs;
- Testing or analyzing the content of drugs;
- Packaging, repackaging, containing, storing, or concealing controlled substances; or
- Injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or introducing illegal substances in to the human body.
It is clear from this comprehensive list that many different items can fall into the category of drug paraphernalia, including many items that have common household or personal uses. One of the elements of this offense that creates injustice for many defendants is the fact that the nature of the paraphernalia does not matter and possession of a needle used to inject very dangerous drugs can result in the same charges as having a decorative bong used to smoke marijuana. Although the statute that governs these charges does contain a list of items that may qualify as an item used for the manufacture, delivery, sale, possession, and use of an illegal substance, it is not a comprehensive list, so investigating officers and prosecutors have flexibility to levy the charges based on many items that are not included in the language of the law.Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
A person who is arrested because of items in his possession linked to drug-related crimes will face a Class A misdemeanor charge. This may lead to a term of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.00. Although the court may decide to impose probation rather than time in jail, this still results in a criminal record that will follow a person for the rest of his life. See 720 ILCS 600/3.5.
An individual may also be arrested if he attempts to sell drug paraphernalia. The offense of selling items that fall within the statutory prohibition may lead to different penalties, including:
- The sale of drug paraphernalia can be charged as a Class 4 felony – this may lead to a prison term between one and three years and a fine of up to $25,000 upon conviction;
- The sale of drug paraphernalia by a person 18 years of age or older to a person under the age of 18 may be charged as a Class 3 felony – if convicted, a person could be sentenced to a prison term of two to five years and be fined up to $25,000;
- Selling items associated with drug use, manufacture, delivery, or sale to a woman who is pregnant can lead to a person being charged with a Class 2 felony – this serious offense could result in a prison sentence of three to seven years and a fine of up to $25,000.00.
See 720 ILCS 600/3.Defending against Drug Paraphernalia Possession Charges
There are many times when a person is arrested for a drug-related offense and the prosecutor attempts to convince him that there is no defense to the charges and it is better to simply agree to a plea deal in order to avoid a drawn-out trial. However, this is not true. There are many possible defenses that are successful in these types of cases, including:
- The individual being charged with the offense did not possess the paraphernalia for an illegal purpose – due to the broad characterization of items that fall into the statutory prohibition of drug-related objects, many people are charged improperly. A diabetic may be in possession of the same types of needles that would be used by a heroin addict. Scales and baggies could be used to sort herbs for a cooking club. There are many different defenses relating to the legitimate use of the items in question;
- There was insufficient evidence to prove that the drug paraphernalia was intended for an illegal purpose – in these cases, the court has significant discretion in making the determination about the purpose of the item. If there was insufficient evidence to prove intent and purpose of use, such as proximity to illegal substances on which the item would be used, the court may determine that the evidence is insufficient to support a case;
- The investigating officers did not have probable cause to seize the items – whether there was an improper search and seizure or the officers relied on false information in order to obtain the search warrant, this may form the basis for the suppression of evidence;
- The chain of evidence was not followed – when officers are in a rush to wrap up an investigation, the proper procedures many not be followed.
The actual defense that is presented will depend on the specific facts of the case. The matter may be resolved through pre-trial motions to have evidence suppressed. Once the court has ruled that evidence is not admissible, many prosecutors will not continue to pursue the case. Even if there are no grounds for suppression, it may be possible to negotiate the charges down so that there is no jail or prison time.David L. Freidberg Advocates on Behalf of Individuals Charged with Drug Crimes
The moment that a person is arrested for a drug-related crime, including the possession of drug paraphernalia, it is crucial to contact an attorney who understands how to successfully defend against the allegations. David L. Freidberg has spent nearly two decades fighting for his clients in order to ensure that they get the best possible outcome. At the Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, PC, attorneys and legal professionals examine every aspect of the case in order to uncover laws in the prosecution’s case that can be used to get the charges reduced or dismissed entirely. If the matter does go to trial, Mr. Freidberg has the skill and experience necessary to achieve the best possible results. Call the office at (312) 560-7100 or (800) 803-1442 or send an email to email@example.com in order to schedule an initial appointment. We will respond to your inquiry quickly. We are available 24/7 for your convenience.