Yes. The Texas Controlled Substances Act prohibits the possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia across the state, and its accompanying health statute deliberately defines a wide array of actions as such.CLICK NOW FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE FROM AN EXPERIENCED LAWYER
And when it comes to drug paraphernalia, which can be generally defined as items used for consumption, packaging, or processing substances and drugs – as outlined in the Controlled Substance Act – and Health and Safety Law – separate penalties could apply.
There are other drug possession related-related items such as manufacturing equipment and packaging materials that can be cause for legal repercussions because they are usually associated with intent to deliver. Consumable devices like pipes or needles may also draw prosecution if found in an individual’s possession.
What Does “Drug Paraphernalia” Mean?
Drug Paraphernalia laws use the Texas HSC to define this term. Under Texas Health and Safety Code section 481.002(17), drug paraphernalia is defined as any equipment, product, or material that is used or intended to be used for the purpose of planting, cultivating, manufacturing, producing, processing, testing, packaging, storing, or concealing a controlled substance. Remember, it is any controlled substance “illegal drug” as defined by statute.
Drug paraphernalia can be found in everyday items that are legally purchased from smoke shops, or even household appliances.
Significant funds collected could point to defendants who engaged in the sale of drug paraphernalia such as pipes (metal, wood, glass), combustion devices, roach clips, herb grinders, and scales; bongs and tubes were often used too. Additionally, these charges may involve possession of drugs.
What does Possession mean?
Possession of drug paraphernalia
Possession is the actual use or intent to use an item for illegal purposes.
Delivery involves the distribution of items knowing that they will be used for illegal purposes, what you may know familiarly as trafficking in drug paraphernalia. The law also prohibits manufacturing these products under the same section.
Possession of drugs, generally
Possession of drug paraphernalia is usually a lesser included offense of drug possession. If you are charged under the possession law, it means the state has accused you of carrying or having access to a controlled substance such as marijuana, cocaine, or Ecstasy.
And any drug possession conviction will result in a 6-month driver’s license suspension under Texas statutes
What are the Penalties and Jail Time Associated with a Drug Paraphernalia Charge?
Typically, a drug paraphernalia charge is a very common criminal offense in Austin, Texas. Although it usually results in only a Class C misdemeanor because it is personal in nature, it is often the collateral consequences of drug paraphernalia charges that prove to be the most detrimental if the charges lead to a drug paraphernalia conviction. Having a drug-related conviction on your criminal record could place limitations on your future. The more in-depth analysis is below.
Owning or possessing drug paraphernalia is only unlawful if it was held for the objective intent of constructing, selling, trading, or consuming an illicit controlled substance. Consequently, a compelling argument in these cases is to cast doubt on whether the intent behind said device had anything to do with forbidden drugs.
Are Bongs Illegal In Texas?
Are bongs illegal in Texas? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. They are considered drug paraphernalia. In Texas, drug paraphernalia (including pipes, bongs, and other similar items) are considered illegal under state law. If caught with the above-considered drug paraphernalia in your possession, you can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine (drug paraphernalia ticket, think speeding ticket for punishment purposes) of $500.
Additionally, if police officers suspect that drug residue or controlled substances have been used with drug paraphernalia, then this can result in additional charges being made against you, including but not limited to a State Jail Felony.
It is important to note that even if drug residues are not found on drug paraphernalia they may still be seen as evidence of intent to use drugs and therefore chargeable as drug-related crimes, including the least of which could be a drug paraphernalia charge.
Difference between possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of drugs, and possession with intent to distribute?
Possession of drug paraphernalia refers to someone having it for personal use only.
Drug possession also refers to someone having drugs only for personal use.
Drug possession with intent to distribute refers to drug trafficking and the sale of drugs.
While possession is typically a minor crime, it can cause a person to be charged with a felony, especially if the person is found in possession of large amounts of drugs.
Penalties for Drug Paraphernalia Crimes in Texas
As possession and delivery of drug paraphernalia carry different repercussions, it is critical to understand the fine line between their definitions. This knowledge can determine the severity of any criminal charges associated with these acts.
Although possession of drug paraphernalia is classified as a Class C Misdemeanor, it carries with it no jail time – the most severe penalty being a fine of up to $500. This offense is typically associated with individuals who use these items for personal consumption only and thus does not incur any consequences beyond that monetary sentence.
Selling drug paraphernalia (delivering or manufacturing) is a Class A Misdemeanor and can lead to severe punishments if convicted. You could face up to one year in jail and pay off fines of as much as $4000.
If drug paraphernalia is delivered to someone under 18 years old who is more than three years younger than the defendant, then this offense qualifies as a State Jail Felony. The consequences of such an action include time in state jail for no less than 180 days and up to two years, along with monetary fines of up to $10,000. It’s important that you know these potential penalties should you find yourself accused of such a crime.
When an individual has multiple offenses, they must face mandatory minimum sentencing, which can be much harsher than before. For example, if you have been previously convicted of either delivering drugs or drug paraphernalia to a minor, then the judge is legally mandated to sentence you with at least 90 days in jail.
Statutory Defenses to a Drug Paraphernalia Offense
If you were the very first person to call 9-1-1 because another individual was overdosing on controlled substances, then certain provisions of the Texas drug paraphernalia possession law may provide a defense against charges. Depending upon your specific circumstances, this could allow for either dismissal or acquittal at trial.
You urgently requested medical assistance for your current emergency.
You remained at the location until emergency responders arrived.
You complied with medical personnel and law enforcement officials.
Nonetheless, this line of defense won’t be available to you if you called 9-1-1 while being arrested or served with a search warrant.
Moreover, it may be difficult for you to prove your innocence if you have overused the defense in the past. The law has an 18-month “lookback” period prior to the case’s arrest where any requests made for medical assistance regarding potential overdoses will not be considered valid by the court.
If you or a loved one are facing drug paraphernalia or related charges, it is important that you contact a drug paraphernalia lawyer at the Law Offices of RRK today.