Defense Strategies for Drug Paraphernalia Charges in North Carolina
When law enforcement arrests defendants for possession of drug paraphernalia, they may face other charges such as drug possession. Everyday household items can be seen as illegal contraband when the circumstances are right. A food scale, a plastic zipper bag, a scale, or even silverware can be considered illegal drug-related contraband under some interpretations of North Carolina’s drug laws. The prosecution bears the burden of proof when it comes to drug paraphernalia charges in North Carolina. The prosecution must prove each element of the crime of drug paraphernalia beyond a reasonable doubt.Our Criminal Defense Lawyers can Help
If you are facing a drug paraphernalia charge, you could be dealing with serious criminal penalties. The sooner you hire a skilled defense lawyer, the better. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in drug charges. To schedule your free case consultation, contact our law firm today to learn how we can help you fight for your rights throughout the criminal process.Drug Paraphernalia Charges in North Carolina
North Carolina law prohibits the possession of certain drug-related objects . The relevant statute addresses each of the following categories of activities and how they relate to drug paraphernalia charges:
- Concealment in a vehicle, on a body, or in a residence
- Other types of prohibited uses of paraphernalia
There are two specific categories for drug paraphernalia charges under North Carolina law. The first is the possession of paraphernalia for other controlled substances. If you have any items of drug paraphernalia on your person, you may be facing a Class 1 misdemeanor. In order to charge you with this crime, the prosecutor must prove that you intended to commit a crime that included a controlled substance other than marijuana.Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia in North Carolina
Marijuana has not been decriminalized in North Carolina as it has been in many other states. Instead, the severity of punishment for the possession of marijuana paraphernalia is lower than the penalties associated with the possession of paraphernalia for other, more serious controlled substances. Possession of marijuana paraphernalia is a Class 3 misdemeanor. If you happen to be caught with items that show your intention to commit a crime involving marijuana, you might be charged with a drug paraphernalia crime.
Now that several states have made the possession of marijuana legal, many North Carolina residents assume that keeping a glass pipe or grinder from a local smoke shop is not a big deal. However, both of these objects could be considered marijuana paraphernalia and result in criminal charges.
When a prosecutor can prove that the defendant intended to possess, distribute, or manufacture marijuana, these everyday items will become drug paraphernalia and result in another drug charge. North Carolina has reduced the penalties for possession of marijuana paraphernalia to a Class 3 misdemeanor. However, possessing marijuana and a pipe or bong can still result in a serious criminal penalty.Types of Drug Paraphernalia That Could Lead to a Criminal Charge
The language of North Carolina’s drug paraphernalia statute is extremely broad. The law includes several different categories of items that could result in criminal charges. Almost any personal articles or household items may be unlawful if they can be used to commit a drug-related crime. Items that prosecutors have considered to be drug paraphernalia include the following:
- Bongs, pipes, grinders, and rolling papers
- Scales and other measuring equipment
- Hypodermic needles, e-cigarettes, spoons
- Testing and cleaning utensils
- Kits for growing, planting, or manufacturing controlled substances
If there is any trace of a controlled substance, including marijuana, on the drug paraphernalia, you will also face drug possession charges. You may also face an additional felony or misdemeanor charge, depending on the type of drug you are using. The penalties for drug paraphernalia charges vary. For a class 3 misdemeanor, the defendant will face up to 20 days of jail time and a fine of up to $200. For a class 1 misdemeanor, the defendant will face up to 120 days in jail.We can Help
Drug paraphernalia charges usually go hand in hand with other drug crime charges, resulting in harsher penalties. Contact the skilled criminal defense lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC to schedule your initial consultation. Call our lawyers at (704) 370-2828 to evaluate your options or fill out our contact form . Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.