Clients frequently ask us, What is the charge for possession of drug paraphernalia?
Ohio statutes make this answer simple by labeling the violation “possession of drug paraphernalia.”
In many cases, paraphernalia charges arise in combination with drug possession charges.
Here, we are going to provide information about the possession of drug paraphernalia in Ohio and the penalties those charged with violation of the statute face.
If you were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, contact one of our Ohio drug crime attorneys as soon as possible.
We can prepare a strategy to help you obtain your desired outcome in your case. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation.
What Does Ohio Consider Drug Paraphernalia?
Ohio’s statutes describe drug paraphernalia as any equipment, product, or material of any kind that is used or intended for use in any activity involving a controlled substance.
If the definition sounds broad, that’s because it is. Under the right circumstances, Ohio authorities can consider a vast number of items to be drug paraphernalia.
The specific items of drug paraphernalia outlined by the statute include:
- Marijuana pipes,
- Water pipes,
- Roach clips,
- Cocaine vials,
- Carburetor pipes,
- Drug packaging products,
- Bongs, and
- Scales for weighing a controlled substance.
While some forms of drug paraphernalia seem obvious, authorities can transform innocent common household items like shrink wrap and plastic bags as drug packaging supplies.
If the prosecutor believes you intended to use the items in the distribution of controlled substances, you could face charges for possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to the statute, the court and other authorities will consider certain factors when determining whether an item is drug paraphernalia, including:
- Statements by the owner of the item concerning its use;
- The proximity in time or space of the item to any drug crimes being committed;
- Existence of controlled substance residue in or on the item;
- Direct or circumstantial evidence that the owner of the item intended to use the item to facilitate a drug crime violation;
- Oral or written instructions provided with the item concerning its use;
- National or local advertising concerning the use of the item; and
- Expert testimony concerning the use of the item.
This represents a non-exhaustive list of circumstances law enforcement and the court can consider.
What is Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Ohio?
Section 2925.14 of the Ohio Revised Code addresses the illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia.
The statute prohibits individuals from knowingly using drug paraphernalia or possessing drug paraphernalia with the intention of using it.
Thus, if law enforcement officers find drug paraphernalia among your belongings after your arrest, you could face an additional charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, even if you were arrested for something completely unrelated.
Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Ohio
Currently, Ohio does not consider possession of drug paraphernalia a felony offense. However, charges commonly associated with possession of drug paraphernalia, like drug possession and drug distribution, often result in felony charges.
The penalties associated with possession of drug paraphernalia, even your first offense, depend on the controlled substance the paraphernalia was reportedly used for.
For marijuana paraphernalia, Ohio considers the violation a minor misdemeanor. Minor misdemeanors do not result in jail time.
But the penalty for a conviction includes a $150 fine plus administrative court costs and the potential of having your driver’s license suspended, so a conviction is something you definitely need to avoid.
For other controlled substances, the consequences are more serious, and the possession of drug paraphernalia can be a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
Fourth-degree misdemeanors in Ohio carry the potential of up to thirty days in jail and a $250 fine.
The charge enhances to a second-degree misdemeanor for selling drug paraphernalia and a first-degree misdemeanor if the consumer was under 18.
Additionally, convictions can result in your license being suspended for up to five years.
Hiring an Attorney to Defend Against Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charges
Depending on the facts of your case, a qualified drug crimes lawyer can raise potential legal defenses on your behalf and negotiate with the prosecutor to lessen your charges.
Many legal defenses can apply in a drug paraphernalia possession case, such as:
- You own the alleged paraphernalia for an entirely legal purpose;
- Someone placed the paraphernalia in your possession without your knowledge; or
- You have a valid medical marijuana prescription that authorizes possession of certain items designed for marijuana consumption.
Whatever the circumstances are, you need a lawyer with the knowledge and commitment to advance your interests before the court.
Our team at Gounaris Abboud, LPA has over 50 years of combined legal experience. With attorneys previously employed as prosecutors and judges, we know our way around the criminal justice system.
We represent many clients facing drug-crime allegations every day, including those charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
If you’re facing criminal charges in Ohio for possession of drug paraphernalia, we are here to help. Contact our office today to start your free consultation.