Homemade drug paraphernalia – is it illegal?

Drug paraphernalia is prohibited in almost all U.S. states. Some drug paraphernalia is instantly recognizable because they’re designed for specific purposes, such as bongs, water pipes, syringes and needles. Possessing or using any of these objects is a punishable offense in Alabama.

However, some drug paraphernalia are made from everyday objects. These include rolled-up bills to inhale substances, tablespoons, cotton balls, plastic bags, belts, and more.

Normally, these everyday items won’t trigger any red flags. But when are these items considered drug paraphernalia by Alabama law?

Determining whether an item is paraphernalia

According to state law, drug paraphernalia refers to any object used or designed for use with controlled substances. Whether it’s to help plant or cultivate organic components of a drug or allow users to imbibe substances, the term “drug paraphernalia” has a broad definition.

A court or other authority has to consider the following criteria when determining whether an item is drug paraphernalia:

  • Statements from the owner or anyone who controls the object regarding its use.
  • Expert testimony on the use of the object.
  • Prior convictions of the object’s owner.
  • The object’s proximity to a direct violation of Alabama’s drug laws.
  • Any remaining residue of controlled substances on the object.
  • Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of the owner or holder of the object to deliver it to persons whom they know will use the object to commit a controlled substance violation.
  • Written instructions or descriptive materials on how to use the object.
  • Advertising concerning the use of the object.

Other considerations a court might make include:

  • How the object is displayed for sale (i.e., being displayed next to a known drug precursor).
  • Whether the owner or holder of the object is a legitimate supplier of related items in the community.
  • How much of the object was sold compared to a store’s other merchandise.

If a homemade item matches any of these criteria and becomes closely linked to controlled substance abuse, then the owner faces charges for possession or using drug paraphernalia.

The penalties for possession, use or sale

Possession or use of drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor. On conviction, a person faces up to a year in prison and $6,000 in fines.

However, a person convicted of selling or delivering drug paraphernalia will have heavier penalties because it’s a Class C felony. Punishments include up to 10 years of imprisonment and $15,000 in fines.

So, yes homemade drug paraphernalia is illegal. But a court must first determine whether a specific item fulfills any of the criteria for paraphernalia. If you face charges for possession, use or sale of paraphernalia, consider speaking with a legal professional. An attorney can protect your rights in court and help build a strong defense.

Attorney Brad Hawley

Attorney Brad HawleyAttorney Brad Hawley possesses years of practical experience focused on bankruptcy, civil and criminal defense. He has prosecuted and defended clients in state court, and is a former enlisted member of the United States Army. Brad is driven by his desire to help people that have been hurt by the legal system, and is dedicated to fixing injustices he sees around him. [ Attorney Bio ]

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