Drug Paraphernalia FAQs

Respected Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyers Representing Clients Facing Narcotics Charges Throughout Maricopa County

Arizona lawmakers take a tough stance on all drug crimes. It’s for this reason that the Arizona Legislature passed A.R.S. § 13-3415, which prohibits the possession of drug paraphernalia. Under this law, possessing certain items that are commonly used to make, smoke, ingest, cut or sell narcotics can land you in prison. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Phoenix criminal defense attorney has more than 25 years of experience handling all types of drug / narcotics offenses. Over this time, we’ve seen and handled it all, giving us the knowledge and skill to successfully defend against even the toughest drug cases.

Read on to find answers to some of the most common drug paraphernalia FAQs.

Can I Be Charged with Possession of Drugs and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?

Yes. If you were arrested for a Phoenix drug crime, you may notice that you’ve been charged with at least two crimes: one for the possession of a dangerous drug and another for the possession of drug paraphernalia. While this may seem like the government’s charging you twice for the same crime, this type of charging decision has been upheld time after time by state and federal appellate courts.

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What Counts as Drug Paraphernalia in Arizona?

The short answer is that almost anything could be considered drug paraphernalia because Arizona law doesn’t provide a list of prohibited items. Instead, A.R.S. § 13-3415 explains that drug paraphernalia includes “all equipment, products and materials” that are intended or designated for use in planting, manufacturing, growing, harvesting, compounding, producing, preparing, testing, storing, concealing, ingesting, injecting or inhaling a drug.

Aside from being extremely broad, the definition of drug paraphernalia is also somewhat subjective. For example, a package of small balloons by itself can’t be considered drug paraphernalia because balloons have other legitimate purposes. However, if you are pulled over, and police find a large amount of heroin in your car in close proximity to the balloons, the balloons might land you with drug paraphernalia charges.

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What Are the Best Defenses to Drug Paraphernalia Charges?

Phoenix criminal defense lawyers representing clients charged with possession of drug paraphernalia typically rely on one of two defenses. The first is challenging the prosecution’s evidence that the object was actually drug paraphernalia. For example, say you’re charged with paraphernalia after police find marijuana in your car glove box and a scale in your trunk. Your lawyer might argue that the scale was physically far away enough from the marijuana to raise doubt as to whether you planned on using the scale to weigh the marijuana.

The second defense is a pre-trial motion to suppress evidence based on an illegal search or seizure. Police officers must respect your constitutional rights when investigating any crime; otherwise, they cannot use any evidence they recover. For example, if a police officer finds a freshly-used bong in your house after barging in without your consent, a warrant, or exigent circumstances, they can’t admit the bong into evidence.

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What Are the Punishments for a Paraphernalia Conviction in Phoenix?

In Phoenix, the possession of drug paraphernalia is a class 6 felony. Class 6 felonies carry a possible sentence between 4 months in jail to two years in prison, assuming you don’t have any prior felony convictions. If you do have a felony on your record, you could face between 9 and 33 months of incarceration.

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Have You Been Charged with a Phoenix Drug Crime?

If you were recently arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, it’s important you consider all your options before deciding how to handle your case. A felony conviction can result in jail time; however, even if that isn’t the case, it will immeasurably affect your life. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we take pride in aggressively defending clients charged with serious drug crimes, helping them move on with their lives after their arrests. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 480-413-1499. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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