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Drug Paraphernalia Laws in California

California’s Drug Paraphernalia Law

Sec 11364 of the California Health and Safety Code prohibits the possession of drug paraphernalia. The law further defines that drug paraphernalia includes opium pipe or any device, contrivance, instrument or paraphernalia used for the unlawful injection or use of a controlled substance.

Controlled substances or narcotic drugs are any of the following items:

  • Stimulants;
  • Depressants;
  • Hallucinogens;
  • Opiates, such as heroin, cocaine and PCP.

The elements of the crime of possession of drug paraphernalia are as follows:

  • The accused had control or right to control such drug paraphernalia;
  • The accused knew of the presence of such drug paraphernalia;
  • The accused knew that such paraphernalia was used to inject or use controlled substances;

Other examples of drug paraphernalia are a as follows:

  • Hypodermic needles or syringes that can be used to directly inject the controlled substances into the body;
  • Pipes and other smoking implements;
  • Miniature spoons, where residue of such controlled substances were found;

Should the individual be found to have drug paraphernalia, the crime is not automatically committed. The individual must prove that such possession is for personal use, or had received the same from an authorized source. The quantity of such authorized use should be no more than ten units at the time of the discovery by authorities.

If during the said search, scales and balances, blenders, bowls, spoons and other mixing devices, capsules balloons and other containers were found, the crime is not automatically committed since these items are commonly found in any household. If such paraphernalia was found with a sufficient quantity of drugs or controlled substances, the crime charged would fall under more serious charges such as Sec 11351 HS or drug possession for sale or Sec 11352 HS or sale and/or transport of a controlled substance.

The crime of possession of drug paraphernalia is considered as a misdemeanor offense, with imposable jail time of up to six months in a county prison facility and a maximum fine of $1,000. Other accessory penalties include suspension or cancellation of professional licenses.

A crime directly related to possession of drug paraphernalia is found under Sec 11364.7 or possession, delivery, transport or manufacture of drug paraphernalia with knowledge that these items would be used for illegal drug use or sale. An additional penalty is imposed for violation of this provision if an adult furnishes minors with such paraphernalia or possession of hypodermic needles on school grounds with the knowledge that a minor would use the same to inject illegal drugs.

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious offense. Thus, it is imperative that proper and expert legal representation be engaged when facing these charges. In order to be adequately protected in your rights, do reach out to the drug defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.