Under California law, it is possible to face drug charges without actually possessing any drugs. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a criminal offense that carries harsh penalties. Under California Health & Safety Code 11364: “It is unlawful to possess an opium pipe or any device, contrivance, instrument or paraphernalia used for unlawfully injecting or smoking (1) a controlled substance.” Examples of illegal devices used for consuming drugs include hypodermic needles, syringes, pipes, or cocaine spoons.
In order to obtain a conviction in these cases, prosecutors must prove that the defendant knowingly possessed the paraphernalia and that the person used or intended to use the paraphernalia for an unlawful purpose.
There are a number of ways in which a skilled criminal defense attorney can fight against these types of charges.
Did the defendant actually have control over the paraphernalia? If the item was found in a car or household, is it possible that the item belonged to someone else? Was the object actually paraphernalia? Not all drug paraphernalia-like materials are actually used with illegal drugs. In some cases, the defendant does not even know that the item is considered paraphernalia or that the object was in the room. How did the authorities obtain the item? Evidence obtained during an illegal search and seizure should get thrown out during a trial. The penalties for drug paraphernalia possession can be severe. Possessing drug paraphernalia in Los Angeles County is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The skilled Santa Clarita drug crime defense lawyers at Sitkoff & Hanrahan know how to fight drug paraphernalia charges. We offer no-cost consultations at (866) 430-8383 to anyone facing drug charges in Los Angeles. Call us today to find out how we can help.