Drug paraphernalia is one of the most common drug charges in Pittsburgh. You don’t even need to be in possession of illegal drugs to be charged. Even if you are caught using or possessing a small item, like a pipe for smoking pot, you are still exposed to jail time and criminal conviction.
These charges should not be taken lightly. The best way to address drug paraphernalia charges in or around Pittsburgh is to work with Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC. We understand what you are dealing with and how to handle it the right way, so one mistake or misunderstanding doesn’t limit your future.
Contact us today at (412) 281-2146 for a free, initial case consultation. We will go over what happened, explain your options, and tell you how we can help get you drug paraphernalia charges dismissed or reduced.
Items Defined As Drug Paraphernalia
Pennsylvania has an especially broad definition of drug paraphernalia.
Specifically, you can be charged with use and possession of drug paraphernalia if you are caught with any device used, or intended to be used, for planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing a controlled substance into the human body.
This includes items such as baggies, roach clips, rolling papers, bongs, blenders, needles, and scales.
Drug paraphernalia & Marijuana
Drug paraphernalia charges frequently go along with marijuana charges, which could dramatically increase your jail time and fines if convicted. You also face additional penalties if you sell paraphernalia to a minor at least three years younger than you, such as a fine of up to $5,000, up to two years in prison, or both.
If it’s your first offense, and you are found guilty, you can be sentenced to up to one year in prison and/or fined up to $2,500.
How Drug Paraphernalia Conviction Affect Your Life
It’s important to remember that drug paraphernalia charges also apply to more serious narcotics like heroin, cocaine, and meth. The baggies and scales associated with the sale of controlled substances will also increase your potential penalties.
A conviction results in a criminal record that can negatively affect your ability to get a job, join the military, obtain certain professional licenses, or be admitted to graduate school.
You may also face revocation of permits and licenses, and your employment may be at stake as well. Your driver’s license will be suspended for six months for a first offense, one year for a second offense, and two years for a third offense.
If you are a parent and share custody of your children, a conviction could negatively impact your ability to see your children or obtain custodial rights.
Steps to Take if You Have Been Charged
Drug paraphernalia charges come with substantial fines and prison time. Fighting these alone without a lawyer will not likely result in a favorable outcome. If you’ve been charged with drug paraphernalia, your first step should be speaking with an experienced lawyer.
You should look for one who has substantial criminal defense experience. He or she can help you navigate the criminal court process and assess the evidence against you in order to negotiate the best possible outcome for your charge.
There are many times that you’ll have questions about whether or not to speak with the police, how to handle the paperwork associated with serious criminal offenses, or how certain situations affect your case, and an experienced attorney can help answer these.