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Drug paraphernalia is a broad term the law uses to describe items someone might need when using, selling, or manufacturing illegal drugs. Possessing, making, or selling these items is illegal in Arizona, but whether an item is actually considered drug paraphernalia sometimes depends on a law enforcement officer’s opinion.
If the police allegedly find drug-related items and you face charges, contact a Scottsdale drug paraphernalia lawyer immediately. A dedicated drug defense attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group can assess the evidence against you and present a robust argument against the charge.
Arizona Statute § 13-3415 defines drug paraphernalia as any item that could be used to store, sell, use, or manufacture drugs. Many items that fit this description have other uses that are not associated with illegal drug activity.
If a law enforcement officer finds an item identified in the statute and believes you are using it for illegal purposes, you can be arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. The law also prohibits anyone from selling, delivering, manufacturing, or advertising drug paraphernalia.
Although the definition of drug paraphernalia is broad, the law provides several examples. These include scales, bongs, various kinds of pipes, roach clips, syringes, hypodermic needles, and products commonly used to dilute or adulterate illegal drugs. A law enforcement officer could also have reason to believe bowls, plastic baggies, envelopes, capsules, and other common household items are drug paraphernalia.
In any criminal case, the prosecutor must prove their case, but the defense only has to raise reasonable doubt. The law recognizes many items can be used for both legal and illegal purposes. It spells out indicators that a judge or jury could use to support an allegation that a specific item is drug paraphernalia. These include:
If the defendant is accused of manufacturing or advertising drug paraphernalia, the judge or jury could consider the description of the objects labeled as paraphernalia, how they are displayed, and whether the owner or seller is in a legitimate business that uses the item.
Charges related to possession or sale of drug paraphernalia are Class 6 felonies, the least severe form of felony. A first- or second-time offender with no history of violent crime will be sentenced to probation unless the charge involves methamphetamine. A lawyer could make an argument for reasonable doubt in cases of possessing drug paraphernalia in Scottsdale.
Defendants often weaken their case by speaking with the police without a lawyer present. Invoking the right to remain silent is always the smartest way to respond to police questions. Once a suspect has legal counsel, they can answer appropriate questions and cooperate with the police to a reasonable extent.
Scrutinizing police conduct can often reveal a defense against drug paraphernalia charges. Police must respect a suspect’s right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police had no consent to search or a faulty search warrant, a court might dismiss a paraphernalia charge.
A Scottsdale drug paraphernalia attorney who is also a former prosecutor can attack the prosecution’s assumptions about how the defendant used the item. By presenting alternative explanations that make sense in a particular case, a defense lawyer could raise enough doubt to defeat the charges.
Possessing or selling drug paraphernalia is a serious offense that could lead to jail time. Do not assume you can talk the police out of this charge.
A Scottsdale drug paraphernalia lawyer helps people obtain the best outcome possible in the circumstances, sometimes defeating charges entirely. Call as soon as you are arrested to get a savvy defense attorney from Grand Canyon Law Group to represent you.