Consequences of possessing drug paraphernalia in California

The Following Article is by the Law Offices of Jared Allen, PLLC

Drug paraphernalia refers to any equipment, product, or material of any kind which is designed to manufacture, compound, convert, conceal, process, prepare, inject, inhale or otherwise introduce drugs into the human body. According to California Health & Safety Code 11364 HS, it is illegal to possess drug paraphernalia. Read on to understand what items constitute as drug paraphernalia and the consequences associated with possessing drug paraphernalia in California.

Common items of drug paraphernalia

Some common examples of drug paraphernalia include cocaine spoons and methamphetamine pipes. Under current laws, individuals can safely possess syringes and hypodermic needles for personal use, as long as they come from lawful sources. Other items which classify under drug paraphernalia include hashish bongs, smoking masks, glass hashish pipes, crack cocaine pipes, roach clips and more. If items like fake pagers and hollowed-out cosmetic cases are used to conceal illegal drugs, then they may also be classified under drug paraphernalia.

Consequences of getting convicted for paraphernalia possession

Illegal possession of drugs is considered a violation of Health & Safety Code 11364 HS and is classified as a misdemeanor. Anyone violating California’s possession of drug paraphernalia law will have to face six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Additional consequences include suspension of the offender’s professional license. This holds true in case of real estate agents, teachers, contractors, and lawyers etc. The sentencings associated with the offenses are given below:

  • Delivering or manufacturing drug paraphernalia is considered a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to a year in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000
  • Furnishing drug paraphernalia to a minor less than 18 years is a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to a year in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000
  • Possessing a hypodermic needle on school grounds is considered a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to a year in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000

When punishing someone convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia, the court has several options available. These options are listed below:

  • The offender can face a maximum $1,000 fine and can be sentenced for up to a year in county jail
  • The offender can be placed on probation and the court can impose a sentence of up to one year in county jail
  • The offender can be placed on probation with no jail time, but order the offender to do community service, and attend drug counseling. The court may also order a work release program or order the offender to attend substance abuse classes
  • The offender can be placed on formal probation and a probation officer is assigned to the offender
  • The offender may be ordered to enroll in a drug diversion program and their case may be dismissed upon successful completion of the program

Defending against HS 11364 charges

If you are facing charges of HS 11364 drug paraphernalia possession in California, your defense lawyer can use the following common defenses:

  • The items found by the police were not drug paraphernalia
  • The items found belonged to someone else
  • You were not aware that the items may be classified as drug paraphernalia
  • The items were seized or discovered during an illegal search or seizure

It is important to contact a criminal defense attorney when facing drug paraphernalia possession charges in California.