Arizona's drug paraphernalia law is a broadly defined drug offense. In part, this means law enforcement can charge you with possession of an item that is otherwise legal if the officer believes you have used the item or intended to use the item for drug purposes. When items are used for the purpose of using drugs, those items are known as "drug paraphernalia." But just because some people use a certain object for drugs does not mean that was your intention, too. Likewise, if you share your house or vehicle with other people, you may not have known the drug paraphernalia was present until you came into contact with law enforcement. There are other scenarios, too, that can support your defense, like constitutional challenges to the charge. No matter the circumstances, you need an experienced, aggressive attorney to inform you of your rights, defend those rights, negotiate on your behalf, and advocate for you before a judge (and possibly a jury).
If you are facing drug paraphernalia charges in Northern Arizona, contact a criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp today to protect your rights and freedom.
What is Drug Paraphernalia?
Arizona law specifies that drug paraphernalia is any object that allows a person to use, produce, or package illegal drugs, including narcotic drugs, dangerous drugs, marijuana, or peyote. Some of these items are common objects, while others are specialized for drug use or manufacturing. Drug paraphernalia may include, but is not limited to:
- Plastic baggies
- Scales and Balances
- Small glass vials
- Rolling Papers
- Syringes and Needles
- Razor Blades
- Small Spoons
- Roach Clips.
Some of these items have legitimate uses. They become drug paraphernalia if they have drug residue on them or if they are located in close proximity to illegal drugs.
Arizona law addresses drug paraphernalia in A.R.S §13-3415. This statute specifically prohibits a person from possessing, delivering, manufacturing, or advertising drug paraphernalia.
Possession of drug paraphernalia occurs when a person uses, or intends to use, an object to consume, package, or manufacture illegal drugs.
Delivering and manufacturing drug paraphernalia are addressed under the same subsection of the statute. A person cannot deliver drug paraphernalia to another person, possess with the intent to deliver, or manufacture drug paraphernalia with intent to deliver it to another person.
The Arizona statute also specifies that a person cannot advertise in a newspaper, handbill, magazine, or other publications any items for sale that a reasonable person would understand are drug paraphernalia.
When determining if an object is drug paraphernalia, the court may consider:
- statements made by the object's owner;
- oral or written instructions included with the object;
- advertising about its use; and/or
- expert testimony.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class 6 Felony. First and second-time non-violent offenders may be sentenced to diversion programs or given a suspended sentence. The presumptive sentence for a Class 6 felony conviction is one year in prison for those not qualified for a diversion program. Persons with three or more drug paraphernalia convictions face up to six years in prison. Any person convicted of a felony in Arizona can be fined up to $150,000.
Experienced Drug Paraphernalia Attorney
If you have been charged with a drug paraphernalia offense in Coconino, Yavapai, Mohave, or La Paz counties in Northern Arizona, contact The Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp today. Our experienced attorneys understand the fine line between possessing an innocent object and drug paraphernalia, and they can build the strongest defense on your behalf.