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Drug Paraphernalia


West Palm Beach Drug Paraphernalia Attorney David W. Olson

Florida’s drug paraphernalia laws are extensive and detailed. A drug paraphernalia arrest can potentially result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction, imprisonment, expensive fines, driver’s license suspension and other court sanctions. If you were charged with a drug paraphernalia offense, it is advisable to immediately consult with an experienced and qualified drug paraphernalia attorney to review your case.

Attorney David Olson has 33 years of experience providing aggressive and effective legal representation to clients charged with felony and misdemeanor drug offenses. A free case review is available by contacting his law office.

Florida’s Drug Paraphernalia Laws

Sec. 893.145, entitled “Drug paraphernalia defined” is extremely thorough and many common household items are listed as drug paraphernalia. There are numerous laws that pertain to drug paraphernalia, proscribed in Sections 893.145, 893.146 and 893.147, Florida Statutes. A brief description of the statutes should suffice for the simple reason that almost any and every conceivable item may fall under the category of drug paraphernalia does fall under it – including, for example, a balloon, an ordinary soda bottle and duct tape.

  • If the item is created or used to smoke, inhale, ingest, inject or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the body or into the air for inhalation, law enforcement can charge the accused with a paraphernalia offense.
  • “Drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, transporting, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance….”
  • Drug paraphernalia is deemed to be contraband which shall be subject to civil forfeiture.

The illegal items include grow kits for marijuana and other substances, processing kits, preparation kits, etc. If the items can be used to manufacture, weigh, measure, dilute, adulterate, separate twigs, blend drugs, package (envelopes, pill capsules), it can potentially be considered as paraphernalia.

Of course, the obvious items such as syringes, needles, marijuana pipes, glass pipes – with or without screens – as well as screens – all fall within the paraphernalia statutes. So do water pipes, carburetion tubes, roach clips (e.g., alligator clips sold at every hardware store in the country), “miniature cocaine spoons,” cocaine vials, all sorts of electric and air driven pipes and bongs, and more.

While this is a very serious topic – of course no one wants to be accused of or arrested for possession or manufacturing drug paraphernalia – it becomes almost comical when items such as a balloon, a hose or tube, a 2 liter soda bottle, and duct tape are specifically detailed in the statute as paraphernalia. That’s Florida law, though.

Determination of Paraphernalia

Chapter 893.146 describes what is to be considered when determining whether an item is paraphernalia. The statute says, in part, In determining whether an object is drug paraphernalia, a court or other authority or jury shall consider, in addition to all other logically relevant factors, the following:

  1. Statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object concerning its use.
  2. The proximity of the object, in time and space, to a direct violation of this act.
  3. The proximity of the object to controlled substances.
  4. The existence of any residue of controlled substances on the object.
  5. Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, to deliver it to persons who he or she knows….intend to use the object to facilitate a violation of this act. The innocence of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, as to a direct violation of this act shall not prevent a finding that the object is intended for use, or designed for use, as drug paraphernalia.
  6. Instructions…
  7. Descriptive material…
  8. Advertising…
  9. The manner in which the object is displayed for sale.
  10. Whether the owner/controller is a legitimate supplier …such as a licensed dealer of tobacco products.
  11. Direct or circumstantial evidence of sales to the total sales of the business….
  12. The existence and scope of legitimate uses for the object in the community.
  13. Expert testimony concerning its use.

Basically this statute gives the prosecution the right to introduce advertising or instructions as evidence to try to prove that the items were to be used or sold as paraphernalia. An experienced and effective drug paraphernalia lawyer can and will aggressively challenge any alleged evidence introduced in the case.

In many instances, especially first-time offenses, Attorney Olson has been able to get the prosecutor to drop paraphernalia and/or simple possession charges. As well, in many cases he will object to the introduction of evidence and move to suppress it. When this motion is granted, the case usually falls apart on the spot and is dismissed for lack of evidence.

Use, Possession, Manufacture, Delivery, Transportation, Advertisement, or Retail Sale of Drug Paraphernalia

Chapter 893.147 proscribes the penalties for use, possession, manufacture, delivery, transportation, advertisement, or retail sale. Potential maximum penalties range from a first degree misdemeanor to a second or third degree felony, depending on the circumstances. If paraphernalia is sold to a minor, the charges are more serious and a conviction can potentially result in a second degree felony.

Every case is different and the results will depend on its circumstances, such as the legality of the arrest, the description of the alleged evidence, the location of the evidence in relationship to the accused, whether there was residue in the paraphernalia, and so on.

It is not uncommon for a paraphernalia charge to accompany a possession charge. In order for the prosecutor to attain a conviction, s/he must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused intended, for example, to use, sell or illegally deliver the item(s). The prosecution may attempt to make its case by using circumstantial evidence. An experienced criminal offense attorney will challenge the case and always pursue the best possible outcome for his client. This often results in dismissed or reduced charges. Other positive outcomes may include a diversionary program instead of incarceration, community service, participation in a drug course or other positive alternative.

First Degree Misdemeanor Potential Penalties:

  • 1 year jail, maximum, and/or
  • 1 year probation, maximum, and/or
  • $1000 fine, maximum

Possible Defenses for Paraphernalia Charges:

  • Illegal search and seizure
  • The principle of constructive possession – requires proof that the accused had actual knowledge of the presence of the paraphernalia (and/or drug), and also that the accused had control over and dominion of the paraphernalia (and/ordrug). Ask Attorney Olson about defenses in your case.
  • There are other defenses – Ask Attorney Olson.

West Palm Beach Drug Paraphernalia Attorney David W. Olson

If you were arrested for a paraphernalia or other drug charge, the bottom line is that you want a highly experienced, effective and knowledgeable drug offense lawyer at your side. Attorney Olson has more than 33 years of experience representing thousands of clients accused of drug and other criminal charges ranging from simple possession to extremely serious trafficking offenses.

Attorney Olson is a lifetime member and on the Board of NORML, the organization that works to reform marijuana and drug laws.

Attorney Olson received the highest possible AV Preeminent Peer Rating – 5.0 out of 5.0 – for legal knowledge and professional excellence. This rating is awarded to very few attorneys and is especially meaningful because Attorney Olson’s peers have recognized and acknowledged his legal talent.

Attorney Olson represents clients in the West Palm Beach and South Florida area, including Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County and Broward County.

Attorney David W. Olson offers a free case review. You can schedule your in-office or phone appointment by calling 561-833-8866.


Chapter 893, Florida Statutes (2014)

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