In Florida, drug paraphernalia is considered contraband. Drug paraphernalia refers to objects that are used for illegal drug-related activities, like manufacturing, concealing, or consuming a controlled substance. Under certain circumstances, even items that are legally sold and purchased may constitute drug paraphernalia. Often, a person arrested on a drug paraphernalia charge may face additional charges for related crimes, such as marijuana possession or trafficking. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our St. Petersburg drug crime attorneys have the experience to defend against serious felony and misdemeanor charges, including drug paraphernalia offenses.Florida Drug Paraphernalia Laws
Florida drug laws not only cover unlawful possession and use of controlled substances, but also objects used to take drugs and enable illegal drug activity. Drug paraphernalia is defined under Florida law to encompass any equipment, products, and materials used, or intended or designed for use, in certain drug-related activities. These acts include injecting, ingesting, or inhaling drugs, as well as planting, propagating, growing, cultivating, harvesting, compounding, converting, manufacturing, producing, processing, testing, analyzing, preparing, packaging, storing, containing, or concealing a controlled substance. A few examples of drug paraphernalia provided by statute are grow kits, testing equipment, scales used to weigh controlled substances, balloons and other containers for the storage of illegal drugs, and any object used to ingest drugs, such as syringes, pipes, bongs, and roach clips.
Everyday items that are sold and purchased lawfully may be considered drug paraphernalia when they are involved in any drug-related activity described above. In determining whether an object is drug paraphernalia, several factors must be considered. These factors include, for example, the proximity of the object to a controlled substance, any drug residue on the object, how the object is advertised or displayed for sale, expert testimony regarding its use, and other relevant evidence. Described below are Florida drug paraphernalia offenses.Use or Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
The use of drug paraphernalia is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida. It is also a crime to possess drug paraphernalia with the intent to use it for such purposes. To get a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant knew of the presence of drug paraphernalia, and that the defendant used, or possessed with intent to use, drug paraphernalia for any of the prohibited acts listed above.Delivery or Manufacture of Drug Paraphernalia
In Florida, the delivery or manufacture of drug paraphernalia is a third degree felony offense. The prosecution must prove that the defendant delivered, possessed with intent to deliver, or manufactured with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia. The prosecution must also prove that the defendant knew, or reasonably should have known, that the drug paraphernalia would be used for any illegal activity specified above.Drug Paraphernalia Crimes Involving Minors
When delivery of drug paraphernalia is made to a minor, the offense is a second degree felony. In addition, it is illegal to sell or deliver to a minor—for any purpose—syringes, needles, or other objects used to inject substances into the human body, unless they are dispensed by a licensed practitioner, parent, or legal guardian, or by a pharmacist pursuant to a valid prescription. A violation is a first degree misdemeanor.Retail Sale of Drug Paraphernalia
In Florida, it is a crime to knowingly and willfully sell, or offer for sale, at retail certain types of pipes, bongs, and other items defined as drug paraphernalia by law. Retail sale of drug paraphernalia is a first degree misdemeanor for a first-time violation. Subsequent violations, however, may be charged as a third degree felony.Retain a St. Petersburg Attorney for Drug Paraphernalia Charges
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our defense team can work aggressively to defeat a drug paraphernalia charge. We handle a wide-range of criminal cases, including prescription drug and trafficking charges. Our St. Petersburg lawyers represent defendants throughout Pinellas County, including Clearwater, Tampa Bay, and St. Petersburg. To request a consultation with an experienced attorney, call 727-286-6141 or submit our contact form online.