For Those Charged With a Crime
Defenses Against Charges of Cultivating or Producing Illegal Drugs
Fighting Against Criminal Charges
If you or someone close to you is facing possession of drug paraphernalia charges in Sugar Land, Texas, it is critical to reaching out to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Although it often results in a misdemeanor charge, you could be facing fines, jail time, and a criminal record. Do not try to fight these charges on your own.
What Constitutes Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Sugar Land, Texas?
You can be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in Texas if you knowingly:
- Use drug paraphernalia;
- Possess drug paraphernalia with the intent to use it;
- Possess drug paraphernalia with the intent to deliver it to another individual, or
- Manufacture drug paraphernalia with the intent to deliver it to another individual.
What is Drug Paraphernalia?
Any tool used to make, use, or conceal a controlled substance falls under the definition of drug paraphernalia in Sugar Land. Drug paraphernalia can include household items or items purchased at a smoke shop. Some common examples include bongs, hookahs, rolling papers, needles, heat sinks, scissors, grinders, weight scales, spoons, roach clips, hollowed fruits, gas masks, vaporizers, and plastic baggies.
To be convicted, the prosecutor must show that the item was intended for illegal use. This is the reason that smoke shops can sell many of these items. The products in smoke shops are supposed to be legitimately used for tobacco and other legal herbs.
What are the Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Sugar Land?
The penalties for a conviction of possession of drug paraphernalia vary depending on the circumstances. Typically, it will be treated as a Class C misdemeanor if you merely possessed drug paraphernalia. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum fine of $500.
You will face more severe penalties if you were delivering, possessing with the intent to deliver, or manufacturing drug paraphernalia. In these cases, the conviction is escalated to a Class A misdemeanor. It is punishable by fines up to $4000 and a maximum of one year in jail. If it is your second or subsequent offense, there is a minimum jail sentence of 90 days.
If you are over 18 and deliver or manufacture drug paraphernalia to a person under 18 who is at least three years younger than you, it will be categorized as a state jail felony. A state jail felony results in fines of up to $10,000 and between 180 days and two years in state jail.
With every possession of a drug paraphernalia charge, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 180 days. If you are under 21, your license fee will be suspended for one year. It does not matter whether or not you were operating a motor vehicle when you were arrested. In addition to a suspension of your driver’s license, you may be required to complete probation, mandatory drug testing, education classes, or drug counseling.
The collateral consequences of having a drug conviction on your criminal record can be the most detrimental. Schools, employers, and landlords will be notified of your conviction when they complete background checks. It can affect your ability to get into college, find employment, or be approved for housing.
What are Defenses to Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charges in Sugar Land?
There are many different tactics that your defense attorney can use to defend your possession of drug paraphernalia charge in Sugar Land. Some common defenses include:
- Authorized Use
The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to use the item illegally in connection with a controlled substance. If you had a valid prescription for the drug or were using the item to administer a legal substance (like tobacco), you should not be convicted.
- Lack of Possession
To be convicted, the prosecution must prove that you had possession over the paraphernalia and that you knew it was being used for any illegal purpose. Your attorney could argue that you were unaware that you were in possession and did not have the required criminal intent. An example would be if a friend gave you their backpack, but you had no idea that there was a grinder inside.
- Unlawful Search and Seizure
Law enforcement cannot obtain evidence through an illegal search and seizure. This means that the police officer must have proper justification to search you and your things. For example, if you had a broken taillight, an officer cannot search through your trunk. The prosecutor cannot use any evidence obtained through an illegal search and seizure in your trial.
Your Sugar Land Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing possession of drug paraphernalia charges, you should reach out to an experienced and client-focused Sugar Land criminal defense attorney. Adam Capetillo is a Fort Bend County native who is passionate about protecting the rights of all his clients. Call Capetillo Law Firm today for a free consultation.