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Photo of Joshua Nielsen
Photo of Joshua Nielsen

What qualifies as drug paraphernalia?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2021 | criminal defense, Drug Charges

From smoking to injecting, there are many ways to introduce controlled substances into your body. You can also use ordinary products, such as a can of spraypaint, in unintended ways to induce a feeling of euphoria.

While possessing a controlled substance is against the law in North Carolina, having the instruments necessary to ingest one may also lead to criminal consequences.

What is drug paraphernalia?

According to state law, North Carolina has a broad definition of “drug paraphernalia.” Essentially, under the right circumstances, virtually anything may constitute drug paraphernalia. Even household items, such as a kitchen scale or spoon, may meet the legal definition.

While the following list is not exhaustive, here are some items that may lead to a paraphernalia-related charge:

  • Pipes, bongs and rolling papers
  • Needles, spoons, torches and electronic inhalers
  • Measuring devices and cooking supplies
  • Grow kits
  • Bags and cleaning supplies

Are some types of paraphernalia worse than others?

Possessing any type of drug paraphernalia may lead to criminal charges. Still, having items that relate to marijuana consumption typically results in less serious charges than possessing items that relate to heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and other hard drugs. That is, despite continuing to criminalize marijuana use, North Carolina has relaxed its penalties for possessing some marijuana-related paraphernalia.

How can you defend yourself?

If you are facing paraphernalia charges, you may have some options for defending yourself. For example, you may be able to show your possession of paraphernalia is for a legitimate purpose. Ultimately, though, because paraphernalia-related charges often tack onto serious drug charges, it is critical both to understand your rights and to defend yourself aggressively.