It’s widely known that drug possession is illegal, but what about possession of drug paraphernalia where there’s no actual sign of possessing any controlled substances? If you’ve been caught with paraphernalia, you need to get in contact with a drug crime attorney who defends those with drug charges at once, as possessing drug paraphernalia in Overland Park, KS, and all across the state is illegal. Contact Henderson Legal Defense today for guidance.
Ask an Overland Park, KS Drug Possession Lawyer: What Is Drug Paraphernalia?
Drug paraphernalia is any item that has been or is intended to be used in relation to controlled substances. There are certain objects designed specifically for use with controlled substances, but there are other everyday items that are not designed for the purpose but can be used in relation to controlled substances.
Specifically, an item may be considered drug paraphernalia if it is used to do one of the following in relation to controlled substances:
- Otherwise introducing into the body
- Analyzing or testing
What Household Objects Could Be Considered Paraphernalia, and Why?
Not all drug paraphernalia is created for the specific purpose of being used alongside controlled substances. Everyday household objects, such as postal scales, could be considered drug paraphernalia if they have been used to weigh out quantities of controlled substances. If the object is connected to drug usage in any way, then it could lead to a misdemeanor charge. In some cases, possession of the paraphernalia could lead to a felony charge.
There are several things Kansas courts take into consideration when determining whether or not a household item may be connected to drug use. The item will likely be tested for traces of controlled substances, but other factors will be considered when making a judgment on whether or not an item was used as or was intended for use as drug paraphernalia.
What Are the Charges for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?
A lot of the time, a person in possession of drug paraphernalia will be charged with a misdemeanor. Possession of drug paraphernalia is usually classed as a misdemeanor if the person in possession of the item is found to have only used the item or intended to use the item for the personal use of controlled substances. For example, if the paraphernalia has been used to grow five marijuana plants or less, then it can lead to a Class A misdemeanor in Kansas.
However, sometimes a person in possession of drug paraphernalia may be charged with a level-five felony if the use of the paraphernalia can be connected to distributing drugs.
What Is the Penalty for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?
The penalty for the crime can vary, as the defendant’s criminal history will be taken into consideration, as will the circumstances surrounding the crime. If the crime is charged as a misdemeanor, then the person found guilty may spend up to 6 months in county jail, be required to pay a fine, or have to spend time in jail and pay a fine.
If the defendant is charged with a felony, then it will usually be a level-five felony. In layman’s terms, a level-five felony is the least serious type of felony you can be charged with in Kansas. The penalty for a level-five felony is set by statute. The penalty can range from a probation period of 10 months up to 42 months in prison.
How Does Criminal History Impact the Penalty for Possessing Drug Paraphernalia?
There are nine different categories drug-related offenders may be put into, depending on their prior convictions. They are categorized by letters I to A, and which category a defendant fits into impacts their punishment.
The categories are as follows:
- Category I: 0-1 misdemeanors
- Category H: 2 or more misdemeanors
- Category G: 1 Nonperson Felony
- Category F: 2 Nonperson Felonies
- Category E: 3 or more Nonperson Felonies
- Category D: 1 Person Felony
- Category C: 1 Person and 1 Nonperson Felony
- Category B: 2 Person Felonies
- Category A: 3 or more Person Felonies
What Is the Penalty for Each Category When Found with Drug Paraphernalia?
Each category has a time range for probation or prison. Categories I through E will most likely be punished with probation. Categories D through A will most likely spend time in prison.
Here are how long the probation or prison sentence will typically last for each category:
- Category I: 10 to 12 months
- Category H: 12 to 14 months
- Category G: 14 to 16 months
- Category F: 16 to 18 months
- Category E: 18 to 22 months
- Category D: 23 to 26 months
- Category C: 28 to 32 months
- Category B: 32 to 36 months
- Category A: 37 to 42 months
What Must Be Proven to Convict a Defendant on a Drug Paraphernalia Possession Charge?
The Defendant Possessed the Items
It must be proven without a doubt that the defendant did possess the item or items being classed as drug paraphernalia. This doesn’t mean the defendant had to be the owner. If they had control of the item at the time the alleged crime took place, then they may still be charged.
The Item Is Drug Paraphernalia
The prosecution must show without reasonable doubt that the item was drug paraphernalia. This means they must show that it was, regularly is, or was intended to be used in connection with drugs. In some cases, an item can be classed as drug paraphernalia even if it has only been marked as intended for use with a controlled substance but has not actually been used with a controlled substance.
Can Both Items and Substances Be Considered Drug Paraphernalia?
Both items and substances may be classed as drug paraphernalia. Common items classed as drug paraphernalia include bongs, pipes, roach clips, and miniature spoons. However, there are also several substances that are frequently used in making certain synthesized drugs.
Substances that may lead to a person being charged with possession of drug paraphernalia include ammonia salts, lithium, and pseudoephedrine. All three of these substances are frequently used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.
Why Might a Common Household Item Be Considered Drug Paraphernalia?
Besides being found with traces of drugs on them, common household items may be classed as drug paraphernalia if they were found close to drugs, if the packaging or instructions allude to the item intended for use with drugs, if they’re possessed by people or found near people in possession of drugs, or if they’re possessed by people or found near people under the influence of drugs.
This means that an item may be classed as paraphernalia before it’s ever used in connection with drugs. For example, if a person is under the influence of marijuana is found with postal scales in their possession, then the scales may be suspected to be drug paraphernalia even if they’re still in the box and have never been used.
Who Prosecutes Drug Paraphernalia Charges?
It’s usually the state that prosecutes individuals facing drug paraphernalia charges. Some cities have made possessing drug paraphernalia illegal, too, so it must be determined which agency began investigating the crime. The law then determines who’ll be doing the prosecuting on the case.
Contact Henderson Defense, LLC if you’re being accused of or investigated for possessing drug paraphernalia. You need an experienced and hard-working attorney on your side to help you get through this situation in the best condition possible.