In addition to illegal possession of controlled substances, you can also face prosecution for possession of paraphernalia. According to the Alabama Board of Pharmacy, paraphernalia offenses range in severity from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class B felony.
The definition of paraphernalia is broader than you might realize. However, determining whether an object qualifies as paraphernalia can be complex, involving many different factors.
Objects qualifying as paraphernalia
Objects used to deliver a controlled substance into your body qualify as paraphernalia. These include items such as pipes and syringes. Items used in the growth or manufacture of controlled substances also qualify. Paraphernalia also includes items used to measure the substance, such as scales, or analyze its purity, strength or effectiveness. Containers used for storing or packaging the substances also qualify as paraphernalia.
Factors involved in determination
There are sometimes legitimate purposes for items that appear to be drug paraphernalia. When it comes to making the determination, there are many factors involved. Authorities may seek the testimony of someone knowledgeable in the field. If you are a legitimate supplier of related items, authorities take that into consideration. For example, if you own and operate a tobacco shop, you are unlikely to face drug paraphernalia charges if you sell pipes on your premises.
However, authorities do take your record of past offenses into consideration. They may also test the object for any residue of illicit substances. Authorities also consider the object’s context, e.g., whether it is in proximity to a drug offense in time or space. Statements that you make relating to an object’s use are another consideration.