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Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

"Drug Paraphernalia" is defined as all equipment, products and materials which are designed or marketed for use in cultivating, 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 (drug). This definition includes but is not limited to the following items:

  • Bongs
  • Air-driven pipes
  • Ice pipes or chillers
  • Chamber pipes
  • Electric pipes
  • Carburetor pipes
  • Miniature cocaine spoons
  • Cocaine vials
  • Scales and balances used for verifying and measuring drugs
  • Containers or other objects intended for personal use or for storing or concealing drugs
  • Testing equipment intended for personal use or for identifying, or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of drugs
  • Kits used for growing drugs
  • Kits used for manufacturing, compounding, producing, or preparing drugs.

Possession of paraphernalia is a crime in California, punishable under Health and Safety Code section 11364, which states it is unlawful to possess any:

  • Opium pipe, or
  • Any device, contrivance, instrument, or paraphernalia to unlawfully inject or smoke
  • Any controlled substance (drugs or narcotics), except marijuana.

In order to be convicted of possession of paraphernalia, the prosecutor must prove:

  • That you in fact had actual items of paraphernalia such as pipes, cotton balls, strips to seal syringes, or devices used to prepare veins for injection;
  • That you had knowledge of the paraphernalia; and
  • That you exercised control or constructive control of the items of paraphernalia.

There are some items of paraphernalia that are exempt from prosecution and these include hypodermic needles or syringes possessed for personal use and obtained from an authorized source. There is a limit of 10 needles and syringes.

Possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor in California punishable by up to 180 days in county jail plus three years of informal probation. Although a conviction for possession of paraphernalia does not carry substantial jail time, it is nevertheless part of your criminal record and can have collateral consequences in the future.

If you or someone you know is facing possession of paraphernalia charges, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn about the criminal justice system, your rights, defenses, and any and all legal options.