Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia
While you may think that glass pipe or “tobacco” grinder you bought at the local smoke shop isn’t a big deal, under the wrong circumstances, both could be considered Marijuana Paraphernalia and result in you facing criminal charges. Depending on the use of certain items, what we may consider to be innocent and everyday things (ex. Ziplock baggies, Tupperware containers, etc.), could also result in criminal charges. Under N.C.G.S. § 90-113.22A, it is a Class 3 Misdemeanor to possess with the intent to use marijuana paraphernalia to, among other things, plant, grow, package, store, conceal, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce marijuana into the body. While the legislature loosened it position on marijuana paraphernalia in 2014 by reducing it to a Class 3 misdemeanor, possession of marijuana paraphernalia is still illegal in North Carolina and the result of a conviction of your record can be tremendous.
The criminal defense lawyers of Randall & Stump, PLLC have extensive experience defending clients just like you. We also frequently defend college students and work to mitigate the damage by pursuing dismissal or, if necessary, proceeding to trial to prove your innocence.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
While North Carolina reduced the misdemeanor classification for possession of marijuana paraphernalia, under N.C.G.S. § 90-113.22(a), possession of drug paraphernalia used to, among other things, plant, grow, package, store, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce a controlled substance other than marijuana into the body still remains a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Like with possession of marijuana possession, what may be considered an innocent item, could be considered drug paraphernalia by police based on the perceived use of the item or the circumstances surrounding its discovery. For example, let’s say that a digital scale is found in your home with no other evidence of drug activity. No big deal, right? But let’s add one minor fact, that police believed there was a powder like residue on the same scale. The result may very well be that you are charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
Possession of Marijuana and Drug Paraphernalia: Fighting the Charge
Like all drug crimes, state law enforcement officials pursue possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges aggressively. With that said, there may be ways to fight the charges depending on the facts of your case. For example, maybe there was no intent to use the alleged piece of drug paraphernalia for any illegal purpose outlined in the statute or maybe that residue the police believe to be the “smoking gun” isn’t actually a controlled substance. To fully understand the possible defenses that come with a conviction, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as you have been charged. The collateral consequences can make getting a job more difficult, cause issues with housing, potentially cause issues with school if you are a student, and are as wide-ranging that they could even carry immigration problems down the road.
Although possession of marijuana paraphernalia and possession of drug paraphernalia are considered misdemeanors, the far reaching consequences make it vital to fight because any drug conviction, whether misdemeanor or felony, will put a black mark on your permanent criminal record. As more employers and property managers run background checks, this can limit your opportunities later in life for jobs and housing.