Austin Drug Paraphernalia Lawyer
Drug paraphernalia in Texas refers to accessories involved in the use of illegal drugs. Simple possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine and likely probation, drug testing, and counseling. However, if it can be shown a defendant had the intent to deliver drug paraphernalia, the charges become much more severe. Delivering drug paraphernalia to children is a felony offense.
A drug paraphernalia lawyer can help defend your rights in court and get paraphernalia charges dismissed or reduced. Call our offices today for a confidential consultation on your drug paraphernalia case.
What is Drug Paraphernalia
According to section § 481.125 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, drug paraphernalia is:
"equipment, a product, or material that is used or intended for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, or concealing a controlled substance in violation of this chapter or in injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance"
Items determined by courts in Austin to be paraphernalia have included both purpose-made accessories like scales and improvised devices like plastic bottles modified for smoking. Since these are not strictly prohibited, the law relies on the intent of the user to determine their legality. Nonetheless, common drug paraphernalia includes the following:
- rolling papers
- growing equipment
- excess cash
- small baggies
Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Texas
According to the Texas Health and Safety Code, simple possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class C Misdemeanor. The penalties include up to a $500 fine, months of probation, mandatory drug testing, and educational classes or counseling.
Escalations of Drug Paraphernalia Charges
If this is not your first offense of possession of drug paraphernalia, you will likely face a stiffer charge by at least one classification. Jail time is a serious possibility in this case.
If it is shown that you delivered or intended to deliver drug paraphernalia, you will be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, which is the most serious misdemeanor.
Another circumstance that will escalate possession of drug paraphernalia charges is if a minor, someone less than 18 years old, is involved. If it can be proven in a court of law that you had paraphernalia with the intent to facilitate drug use by a minor, the classification of the charge can be a State Jail Felony. "Facilitate" could mean delivering the items to a minor, or simply sharing them for the purpose of illegal drug use. If it can be shown that the items were sold to a minor for money, you can expect the charge to be a more severe. The penalties for these classifications are shown below.
|Classification||Max Fine||Jail Time|
|Class A Misdemeanor||$4000||Max 1 year|
|State Jail Felony||$10000||180 days—2 years|
Legal Defenses Used by Drug Paraphernalia Lawyers in Austin
Texas law requires a person to knowingly possess drug paraphernalia in order to be convicted of the crime. Therefore if it cannot be shown that the accused was aware he was in possession of the items, then he would not be guilty of the offense. We can represent you in court for this charge and demand that the prosecution produce legally-sufficient evidence you were aware of any drug paraphernalia in your possession. It is common for cases to be dismissed because not enough evidence of guilt was produced.
Secondly, there needs to be a reason for a police officer to search you in the first place. In many cases, police officers will conduct a search without sufficient justification to do so. If this is shown in court, the evidence produced by the search would not be admissible, and the charges very well may be dropped.
Do You Really Need a Lawyer for Drug Paraphernalia Charges?
Hiring a skilled criminal lawyer can be the difference in a permanent criminal record and having a case dismissed. The consequences of being convicted of drug charges can haunt you well after you've paid fines or served time in jail, followed months of probation, and attended drug classes. The details of your case rarely matter to prospective employers, landlords, colleges, creditors, or others who require a background check and discover your criminal record.
If you wish to do everything you can to avoid criminal drug charges and the stigma attached to them, you should seek the counsel of a competent and experienced criminal defense attorney. They can quickly tell you what to expect in your paraphernalia case and what all your options are. Contact our offices today for a consultation on your case.About Sue Berkel Get started
Sue Berkel has been practicing criminal law in Austin for over 25 years and has the experience to understand your unique situation. She is a former Travis County criminal prosecutor, meaning she worked on the "other side" of the judicial process. After serving as a prosecutor, she was a municipal judge in Austin. This experience brings great intuition on how criminal cases are likely to be resolved in court and is a major asset she can bring to the table on your paraphernalia case. Don't hesitate to call us.