While one may face charges for the possession of drugs, the possession of drug paraphernalia is also a crime punishable by several different penalties. While many items may be considered drug paraphernalia, common examples include bongs, roach clips, and syringes. Because these items are often used in conjunction with illegal substances, being caught in possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a Class A misdemeanor in the state of Illinois, though such possession may also be considered felonies in certain circumstances, such as when distributing drug paraphernalia to a minor or a pregnant woman.
There are many factors that may influence how a drug paraphernalia charge proceeds in court. These factors may include the circumstances surrounding your arrest, your access to/possession of the paraphernalia and your criminal background.
Types of Charges
There are several different types of drug paraphernalia charges. The nature of your charge is also influenced by the type of paraphernalia that you have in your possession. Common examples of such paraphernalia include:
- Small spoons
- Plastic bags
While the type of paraphernalia bears significance in a drug paraphernalia charge, there are other elements that may play a role in determining your charge and/or criminal penalty. Listed below are a few of these elements.
- Connection to Drug Possession:When a court is considering your drug paraphernalia case, any connection to drug possession will play an important role. Factors like other drug charges, the amount of illegal substances with which you were also caught, and any intent to sell or distribute can all impact the severity of a drug paraphernalia sentence.
- Use and Intent:While there are many things that may be considered drug paraphernalia, not all such items are solely used in conjunction with illegal substances. For example, items like lighters and plastic bags have uses outside of substance abuse. A court will take these uses into consideration when examining a possession of drug paraphernalia case.
- Constructive Possession vs. Active Possession:Another factor courts take into consideration is the type of possession charge. Active possession is when you are caught with drugs or drug paraphernalia on your person and accordingly you possess the ability to use the drug or paraphernalia at any time. Constructive possession is when you have drugs or drug paraphernalia within your control but not necessarily within your immediate possession. Examples of constructive possession would be keeping drugs or drug paraphernalia in a drawer in your home or in the glove compartment of your car.
While the following regulations do not provide an exhaustive overview of drug use in the state of Illinois and the following laws relate only to licensure of those interested in legalized cannabis cultivation, they may be helpful for those interested in such a licensure.
According to 410 ILCS 705/1-7, “a person shall not be considered an unlawful user or addicted to narcotics solely as a result of his or her possession or use of cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia in accordance with this Act.”
According to 410 ILCS 705/1-10, “‘Cannabis paraphernalia’ means equipment, products, or materials intended to be used for planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, ingesting, or otherwise introducing cannabis into the human body.”
Penalties for a Paraphernalia Charge
In the state of Illinois, possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. While possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor charge, distribution of drug paraphernalia is considered a far more serious crime. Distribution of drug paraphernalia is considered a Class 4 felony and is punishable by up to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Distribution of drug paraphernalia to a pregnant woman is considered a Class 2 felony and is punishable by up to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Distribution of drug paraphernalia to someone under the age of eighteen is considered a Class 3 felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Need Help? Call Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC
Dealing with the repercussions of a wrongful drug paraphernalia charge can be a stressful process. If you or someone you know is facing an erroneous drug paraphernalia charge, you need excellent representation to help you get the best possible result on your case. The top-rated team of drug crime defense attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC is ready to help. We’ve been representing clients like you for more than 30 years, and we’ve represented more than 20,000 satisfied clients over the years. If you’re facing drug paraphernalia charges, contact the Chicago defense lawyers of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC at (312) 644-0444 today. We’ll put you in contact with one of our lawyers so that you can determine the best course of action in your case. Let your journey towards justice begin today.