In Florida, a person can be arrested and charged with the crime of "possession of drug paraphernalia" for a number of reasons. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor offense; however it does often carry serious penalties.
What is the definition of "possession of drug paraphernalia?"
In Florida, possession of drug paraphernalia is defined as having any materials or tools that are used to put drugs in the body of a person tools that are used to package drugs of distribution. Additionally, drug paraphernalia also includes equipment that is used in the production or manufacturing of drugs. Common types of drug paraphernalia include needles, scales, pipes, bongs, spoons, syringes, and plastic bags/jars used to store drugs.
More specifically, under Fla. Statute 893.145 drug paraphernalia is defined to include materials and equipment that are used for: growing; planting; transporting; packaging; injecting; ingesting; producing; inhaling; or any other device used to get drugs/narcotics into the body of a person.
After a person is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia by a law enforcement officer, an intake attorney with the State Attorney's Office will then decide if the items are indeed considered paraphernalia. If the state's attorney believes that the items are in fact paraphernalia, formal charges will be filed. The prosecutor in Tampa or St. Petersburg, Florida will then have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused individual either had the possession of drug paraphernalia in their hand, hidden in their clothing, on their body; or that the drug paraphernalia was in close proximity to the person and that he or she had control over it.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor of the first degree in Florida. An person who is found guilty of a first degree misdemeanor in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida can be fined up to $1000.00 and/or sentenced to up to one year in jail.
Being convicted of this crime may also create issues for the accused at work. If you have been charged with this crime you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney with our firm immediately. We have five attorneys on staff who have handled many cases like yours in the past and are able to provide you with a free, confidential case evaluation.