Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Texas
Texas prosecutors can be relentless in trying to get convictions for crimes involving illegal drugs. You can face felony or misdemeanor charges for possessing any type of drug paraphernalia, which includes water pipes, scales, syringes, and many other products and implements that have legitimate uses other than to facilitate the possession or use of illegal drugs.
Plano, Texas drug charge defense lawyer Andrew Peveto has extensive experience in defending individuals against allegations of possession of drug paraphernalia and devices. He has in-depth knowledge of Texas drug paraphernalia laws and knows how to fight back against Texas prosecutors that wield drug paraphernalia charges with little or no evidentiary support.
Texas Drug Paraphernalia Laws
Chapter 481 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act includes an extensive definition of “drug paraphernalia”. That definition is broad enough to cover anything that someone might use to grow, manufacture, distribute, or sell illegal substances, including scales and testing equipment, plastic bags and similar packaging, water pipes and devices used to vaporize drugs, and hypodermic syringes. At least one Texas municipality has also considered adopting its own local ordinance that aims to prevent the sale of drug paraphernalia from convenience stores and other retail outlets.
Drug paraphernalia charges are typically added on to primary charges of possession and use of illegal drugs, but the laws are broad enough to enable police to arrest individuals for possession of drug paraphernalia even if they find no evidence of illegal drugs themselves. Moreover, law enforcement authorities can use the presence of purported drug paraphernalia as probable cause to conduct a more thorough search of a person’s home or car. A trooper who observes a water pipe in a vehicle during a routine traffic stop, for example, can leverage that observation to request a warrant for a more thorough search of the vehicle.
Potential Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Texas
First-time offenders in Texas who have no prior criminal histories and who are not found with drugs on their person are most likely to face Class C misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia. Those charges carry a $500 fine and sometimes require the offender to complete some community service, but the charges will usually be erased when the fine is paid and the service hours are completed.
Repeat offenders and perpetrators who were in the possession of drugs when they were arrested will face stiffer penalties, including larger fines and potential jail time. Selling drug paraphernalia, for example, can result in Class A misdemeanor charges, which carry fines of up to $4,000 and prison sentences of up to one year in a county jail. Fines and prison sentences will increase even more for multiple convictions and sales of drug paraphernalia to minors.
After fines are paid and prison sentences are completed, a convicted offender can also face a period of probation for twelve or more months, during which time an offender will be required to check in periodically with a probation officer, to maintain regular employment, and to avoid arrests for all other criminal offenses.
Defending Against Texas Drug Paraphernalia Charges
Criminal charges are not trifling matters. Prosecutors take great pride in high conviction rates and will go to great lengths to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person charged with possession of drug paraphernalia did, in fact, violate the Texas laws against possession and use of drug-related devices.
Every criminal drug paraphernalia case, whether it is brought to trial or resolved with a plea before a trial, will turn on the specific facts that the prosecutor needs to prove to win a conviction. Section 481.125 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act prohibits individuals from knowingly or intentionally using drug paraphernalia in conjunction with controlled substances. The successful defense of Texas drug paraphernalia possession charges typically turns on whether that possession was knowing or intentional, and whether any controlled substances were in any way connected to the paraphernalia.
Further, any evidence introduced into a criminal trial must have been collected according to proper procedures. If the law enforcement authorities who seized any drug paraphernalia evidence did not have an appropriate warrant or if they did not have probable cause to conduct a search, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will challenge the introduction of that evidence into the trial court record.
The Peveto Law Office: Effective Defense of Drug Paraphernalia Possession Charges in Texas
The growing national acceptance of medical and recreational cannabis products might give you an impression that there is a more relaxed attitude toward drug paraphernalia. Standards and attitudes may be evolving, but that evolution will not stop a Texas prosecutor from pressing drug paraphernalia charges against you. Moreover, a conviction on any drug related charges can lead to long-term problems with employment and housing.
If you have been charged with possession or drug paraphernalia in Dallas, Plano, or other nearby communities in northern Texas, please call the Peveto Law Office to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys as soon as is possible. We will review your case and the evidence against you, and we will fight to reduce or dismiss those charges and limit the damage done to your freedom, livelihood and reputation.
- texas.gov: The Texas Controlled Substances Act. https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/HS/htm/HS.481.htm
- tpr.org: San Antonio Police Looking to Crack Down on Drug Paraphernalia. http://www.tpr.org/post/san-antonio-police-looking-crack-down-drug-paraphernalia