What does Florida law have to say concerning drug paraphernalia?
When it comes to drug-related offenses, there are terms that seem entirely foreign and steeped in legalese, terms that require no explanation whatsoever, and terms that fall somewhere in the middle. Regarding this last category, it includes those terms that the general public has certainly heard of in the context of drug crimes, but may nevertheless not understand completely.
By way of illustration, consider the term “drug paraphernalia.” While images of rolling papers, pipes or bongs come to mind for most people, this is actually only the tip of the iceberg regarding the crime of possession of drug paraphernalia here in Florida.
What is considered drug paraphernalia in Florida?
Florida law actually sets forth a rather exhaustive definition of drug paraphernalia, referring to it as any materials, equipment or products used or designed to accomplish any of the following: “planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, transporting, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance.”
Does the law provide any examples?
In recognition of the fact that this definition could encompass virtually anything, state lawmakers did set forth an incredibly detailed list of items that could be considered drug paraphernalia.
Some examples include:
- Scales and balances used to weigh or measure controlled substances
- Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used to compound controlled substances
- Hypodermic syringes, needles, and other objects to inject controlled substances
- Objects used for ingesting, inhaling, or introducing cannabis, cocaine, hashish, or nitrous oxide into the human body, including ceramic pipes, water pipes, roach clips and bongs, to name only a few
Is there ever then really any doubt as to what constitutes drug paraphernalia?
Recognizing that there could be scenarios in which it is not entirely clear whether a particular item could be considered drug paraphernalia, state lawmakers also set forth a separate statutory provision outlining other criteria for a judge or jury to consider.
Some of these criteria include:
- The closeness of the item to controlled substances
- The existence of any controlled substance residue on the item
- Descriptive materials accompanying the item
- Any advertising concerning use of the item
- The manner in which the item is displayed for sale
What are the penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia?
Possession of drug paraphernalia is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
If you have been charged with any sort of drug-related offense, remember to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.