Prince William County Drug Paraphernalia Lawyer

While the general public may be familiar with various types of drugs and the potential penalties a person might face for drug-related crimes, drug paraphernalia laws may be lesser known. Authorities may charge a person for owning certain items if they believe the item was or could be used in drug-related activities. If you are facing criminal charges for allegedly having drug paraphernalia in Virginia, a Prince William County drug paraphernalia lawyer could help. An accomplished attorney could build a defense case on your behalf and challenge any allegations the authorities may accuse you of.

What is Controlled Paraphernalia?

Not all paraphernalia is prohibited in Prince William County. The paraphernalia targeted by the law is called controlled paraphernalia, which is defined to include tools and supplies adopted for the production of controlled drugs under circumstances that reasonably indicate an intention to use such items to consume, produce, sell, or dispense any controlled drugs. The definition of controlled drugs is those drugs that are illegal to possess in Virginia under the Virginia Control Act, which does not include distilled spirits, wine, malt beverages, or tobacco.

Common Examples

The paraphernalia statutes themselves contain detailed examples of controlled paraphernalia, which may include:

  • Hypodermic syringes
  • Needles
  • Gelatin capsules
  • Glassine envelopes
  • Scales
  • Sieves
  • Strainers
  • Measuring spoons
  • Chemical cutting agents such as Quinine Hydrochloride, Mannitol, and Mannite
  • Pipes, razor blades, altered straws, and hash grinders.

A Prince William County lawyer could explain how authorities may charge a defendant for the possession of drug paraphernalia.

Penalties

While a person charged with drug paraphernalia in Prince William Count may technically face a Class 1 misdemeanor which could carry up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine, courts typically do not impose any active jail time or hefty fines for paraphernalia charges if they suggest marijuana usage.

Paraphernalia may be a more attractive conviction than possession of an actual drug since it does not carry the possibility of a six-month license suspension. If a person who is at least 18 years old is charged with selling paraphernalia to a minor that is at least 3 years younger than the seller, the offense could become a Class 6 felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and up to a $2,500 fine.

How Local Authorities Treat Paraphernalia Possession

Paraphernalia possession is typically treated as the lowest-level drug offense out there. Prosecutors and police tend to devote only minimal time and attention to prosecuting these charges unless the accused has a concerning drug criminal history. In such a case, the sought-after punishment for possessing paraphernalia could be more severe than normal – notably if the paraphernalia is associated with the same drugs that a defendant has been convicted of possessing in the past.

The consequences of a paraphernalia charge might also depend on whether the circumstances suggest the person was intending to prepare drugs for distribution to others versus self-use only, and how dangerous the associated drugs are. The much greater concern with paraphernalia scenarios is whether the police find residue of a controlled substance in or on the paraphernalia. If so, additional felony charges will likely be sought.

If a person has a prior drug criminal history or the authorities have found residue on any paraphernalia the person allegedly possessed, a Prince William County lawyer could negotiate with authorities to mitigate the defendant’s potential legal consequences.

How a Prince William County Paraphernalia Attorney Could Help

An attorney may have a hard time lessening or dismissing these penalties for a person on the basis that they were unaware of paraphernalia laws. The defense of unawareness to paraphernalia laws typically might not help a person escape a conviction for possession of paraphernalia. If the person is from a jurisdiction that treats that paraphernalia or the drug associated with that paraphernalia differently, it could be a mitigating factor in pre-trial negotiations or in sentencing for the offense if the case goes to trial.

If you were accused of possessing drug paraphernalia in Virginia, you should reach out to a Prince William County drug paraphernalia lawyer for legal counsel. An attorney could help protect you from the potential long-term effects a conviction may have on your life.