Possession of drug paraphernalia is a crime in the State of Florida if
the State can prove that the accused (1) used or had (drug paraphernalia)
in his or her possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia; and (2)
the accused had knowledge of the presence of the drug paraphernalia.
Florida law specifically defines "drug paraphernalia" as:
"all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used,
intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating,
growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing,
processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing,
containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing
into the human body a controlled substance..."
The statute goes on to describe materials which may be used in planting
marijuana, such as items found for cultivation in a marijuana grow house.
Furthermore, the statute specifically lists scales (if used in conjunction
with drug activity), hypodermic needles (for injecting heroin), pipes,
bongs, roach clips, rolling papers, and other items used for smoking marijuana,
as well as items such as straws or glass pipes used for ingesting cocaine.
Drug paraphernalia may be a crime in and of itself, or it may be an accompanying
charge to another crime. For instance, if you are arrested for trafficking
in oxycodone, and the police find scales and baggies along with the suspect
narcotics, you can be charged with both trafficking in oxycodone (for
the possession of the pills), as well as possession of drug paraphernalia
(for the scales and baggies).
Now, if you were found with only baggies and scales, you could not be charged
with possession of drug paraphernalia unless there was drug residue on
the inside of the baggies. That is because the law requires a "nexus,"
or connection between drug activity and the paraphernalia.
You may walk into a shop on South Beach and find bongs and other glass
pipes for sale. These items are not illegal by themselves, but if you
are found with these items in addition to drugs, you can be charged with
possession of drug paraphernalia because there is a nexus between the
bong and marijuana (for instance) because the bong is the instrument by
which the marijuana is smoked.
However, if a police officer finds you with a bong but the bong contains
marijuana residue, the existence of that residue is the sufficient nexus
by which you can be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
I am a
South Florida criminal defense attorney who practices in Miami-Dade and Broward. I handle drug possession and
paraphernalia possession crimes.
If you or a loved one is facing drug paraphernalia charges,
to discuss your options. If there is no nexus between the paraphernalia
and drug activity, or the discovery of the paraphernalia was the result
of an illegal search, you may be able to get your case dismissed.