Florida Drug Paraphernalia Charges

drug paraphernalia possession florida

In the State of Florida, not only can you be charged if you’re found to be in possession of illegal drugs, but you can also be charged with the possession of drug paraphernalia. That means that being in possession of any item utilized in the use of illegal drugs or packaging related to drug use can result in your arrest. 

Anyone who faces charges for possessing these types of items needs an experienced criminal drug defense lawyer on their side to ensure any evidence found was done so legally. All too often, law enforcement oversteps their bounds when conducting a search and defendants do not realize that a violation of their rights has occurred.

What Is Drug Paraphernalia?

We’ve all seen the reality shows that showcase police stopping individuals on a traffic violation, searching the car, and finding an item that gets labeled “drug paraphernalia.” What exactly are these items that can put a person in jail with hefty fines?

They’re things that help one use drugs, such as:

  • Needles
  • Pipes
  • Growing materials
  • Bongs
  • Roach clips
  • Chillums
  • Water pipes
  • Miniature spoons
  • Bowls
  • Grinders
  • Rolling paper
  • Scales
  • Storing containers
  • Syringes

Virtually anything that is used in the process of taking illegal drugs qualifies as drug paraphernalia under Florida law. While possession of drug paraphernalia charges is not as severe as drug possession charges, it can still leave a permanent stain on your record.

The Orlando drug crime lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm can help lessen criminal charges, keep you out of jail, and pursue pre-trial diversion if possible. Our legal team consists of former state and local prosecutors who understand what goes into getting a drug crime conviction. We can use our inside knowledge to help settle your criminal case on the most favorable terms.

Florida Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Penalties

Section 893.145 of the Florida Statutes classifies possession of drug paraphernalia as a first-degree misdemeanor with penalties up to:

  • 1 Year of Probation
  • 12 Months in Jail
  • $1,000 Fine

Paraphernalia possession is also commonly accompanied by possession of controlled substance charges. Due to this, the judge will usually require random drug screenings and completion of a drug treatment program when the defendant is placed on probation.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Defenses

Common defenses used against drug paraphernalia possession charges include procedural defenses such as those that are typically used in any criminal case to try to get the charges dismissed.

However, there are defenses unique to drug paraphernalia charges such as “constructive possession.” This means that it must be proven that you knew the drug paraphernalia was on the premises, and also that the paraphernalia was under your control. To prove this, the prosecution will assess several factors, such as:

  • Did the defendant make any statements about the paraphernalia?
  • Was the paraphernalia found near a controlled substance?
  • Was any drug residue found on the object?

Another avenue of defense is claiming illegal search and seizure. This is an attempt to show that the police acted beyond their legal authority in the search that produced the paraphernalia. The arresting officer must be able to show that he or she had probable cause to search for the paraphernalia in the first place.

A less common defense is the so-called “overdose defense” in which the paraphernalia was obtained in the context of a medical emergency such as a drug overdose. Context is everything in drug paraphernalia cases. It is simply not possible to provide a one size fits all appraisal of what kind of legal response is necessary for every instance.

Arrested With Drug Paraphernalia in Florida?

If you’ve been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, contact our Orlando drug defense attorneys for a free case review where we can explain your charges and help prevent this incident from affecting your future. Our team of attorneys has more than 100 years of combined experience and can implement our extensive criminal defense knowledge to help have charges lessened or even dropped if possible. 

As recognized Florida Trend’s Super Lawyers, we have demonstrated time and again our commitment to your rights and future. We do this by aggressively defending the charges against you and help negotiate the best outcome possible. Contact us online or by phone today at (407) 228-3838 to receive your free consultation regarding your case.