Facing Drug Paraphernalia Charges in Tampa?
Most people have a general understanding of what drug paraphernalia is, especially when the paraphernalia is used to either store or consume a drug. However, drug paraphernalia is not truly limited in any way, as many objects could arguably be considered drug paraphernalia, at least in the eyes of many prosecutors. While possession of drug paraphernalia in Florida in and of itself does not seem that serious, the consequences of conviction certainly can be.
Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. seeks to resolve all criminal matters as quickly as possible in an effort to avoid the serious and often harsh consequences that may result from being convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia or any other crime. Mr. Joseph strives to ensure you have the strongest case possible given the unique circumstances of your situation. The information below provides an overview of how Florida approaches drug paraphernalia, but in order to have a more thorough understanding, you should consider speaking directly with Mr. Joseph.
What is Drug Paraphernalia?
The term “paraphernalia” is extremely broad and rather subjective, as alleged drug paraphernalia could be used for purely legal purposes (such as a scale to weigh items). While a drug user or drug dealer may use a scale to weigh a controlled substance, another person may use the exact same scale to weigh other items, such as gems, jewelry or other small objects. Drug paraphernalia in the state of Florida includes, but is certainly not be limited to, the following:
• Bongs (also known as water pipes);
• Small pipes or chillums;
• Scales (as described above);
• Syringes and/or needles;
• Small plastic baggies thought to be used for cocaine or other drugs in powder form
• Glass pipes thought to be used for smoking crack cocaine.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Florida
Under Florida law, an individual may be charged with and convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia if he or she (1) actually or constructively possessed the paraphernalia, and (2) used or intended to use the paraphernalia for an unlawful purpose. Actual possession is exactly what it says – you actually had the paraphernalia on you (such as in a pocket or bag that you are holding). Constructive possession means that you have the ability to access the paraphernalia, but do not actually have it on your person. For example, if you are aware that there is a marijuana pipe in the glove box of your car, you constructively possess that pipe in that you have easy access to it.
Whether or not you have actual or constructive possession of something can be extremely confusing, and it certainly isn’t always easy to prove that someone had constructive possession of drug paraphernalia. As such, when facing a drug paraphernalia possession charge, you have the ability to fight the criminal charge to the fullest extent possible, but should do so alongside an attorney who deals with Florida drug charges on a regular basis.
Facing Potentially Harsh Consequences
If you are ultimately convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia, you face a first degree misdemeanor that carries with it the potential for jail time not to exceed one year, and a fine not to exceed $1,000. Oftentimes, a drug paraphernalia charge is an additional criminal charge that goes along with a drug possession charge, such as possession of marijuana or cocaine.
For example, if an individual charged with marijuana possession also was in possession of a pipe, he or she may face an additional drug paraphernalia possession charge. Whether you are facing a drug possession charge in addition to a drug paraphernalia possession charge, or are only facing a paraphernalia charge, you must act quickly to ensure you have the best chance possible of avoiding serious jail time and hefty fines.
Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. Today for a Free Consultation!
If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in or around Tampa, it is imperative that you seek the advice of a qualified Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney right away. While a drug paraphernalia possession charge may not seem very serious, it has the potential to turn serious given the unique facts of your case, as no two cases are exactly alike.
With more than 18 years of experience protecting his clients’ constitutional rights, defense attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. has the advocacy skills and resources you need in a qualified and dedicated attorney. Mr. Joseph treats drug charges such as possession of cocaine seriously, including a stand-alone possession of drug paraphernalia charge.
If you would like to discuss your criminal matter with Mr. Joseph, contact our office today by calling (813) 234-6374 to schedule your free consultation. Mr. Joseph is available 24/7 to help you in any way he can