Even if there are no controlled substances on your person, the risk of facing drug charges could remain. You may know that North Carolina, states across the nation and the federal government all include penalties for possessing drug paraphernalia.
However, what exactly could drug paraphernalia charges entail?
Several items fall under “paraphernalia”
Many people think of pipes, rolling paper, syringes or other devices used to ingest or inject controlled substances when they think of drug paraphernalia. These items indeed fall into this category and could result in criminal charges.
Even so, state law describes a wide range of equipment that could lead to charges as well, including, but not limited to:
- Anything to plant, cultivate, manufacture or produce controlled substances
- Devices to increase the potency of controlled substances
- Scales, balances, bowls, spoons and other tools to organize or make controlled substances
Even everyday items could be considered drug paraphernalia, depending on their proximity to controlled substances, or even if they contain evidence of controlled substances.
If the police find drug paraphernalia, individuals could face a Class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties vary, but they often involve jail time and substance abuse education. However, these charges are often in conjunction with other drug charges – such as drug trafficking – and could increase the consequences as well.
Two things to note in these cases
If you face the risk of drug charges, there are a few things you should know:
- A search must be legal: In most cases, North Carolina police find drug paraphernalia while conducting a search. The search must be legal for this evidence to hold up in court. It is essential to understand the elements of a legal search and your rights in the event of a police search. Even if the police find paraphernalia, if the search is against the law, you can get the evidence suppressed.
- Drug charges are serious: As we have discussed in previous blog posts, misdemeanor charges are not something to overlook. Any criminal charge is serious and could have long-lasting effects on your personal and professional life. It is critical to fight these charges.
Controlled substances may not be present at the scene. However, you must take any type of drug charges seriously and take steps to defend yourself against the risk of allegations.