Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Contact Our DuPage, Kane, and Cook County Drug Defense Attorneys
Many people are unaware that possession of drug paraphernalia is a separate criminal charge from drug possession with its own potential penalties for a conviction. Drug-related paraphernalia is illegal both in the state of Illinois and on the federal level. While you may not hear much about arrests for drug paraphernalia, they do happen with regularity in Illinois. Consider the following statistics:
- Statewide = 24.9 percent of drug-related arrests involved paraphernalia
- DuPage County = 32.1 percent of drug-related arrests involved paraphernalia
- Cook County = 13.1 percent of drug-related arrests involved paraphernalia
- Kane County = 28.9 percent of drug-related arrests involved paraphernalia
- Will County = 32 percent of drug-related arrests involved paraphernalia
As you can see, drug paraphernalia arrests are more common than most people may imagine. If you face drug-related charges of any kind, including for the alleged possession of drug paraphernalia, retain an attorney with extensive experience defending against drug charge. Talk to a DuPage County drug crime lawyer from Martin & Kent, L.L.C. right away to learn the many ways we can assist you.
The Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Control Act regulates drug paraphernalia. This Act defines drug paraphernalia as materials or equipment that are specifically intended to harvest, grow, plant, conceal, store, consume, or test a controlled substance.
Examples of drug paraphernalia include:
- Cigarette papers
- Cocaine freebase kits
- Water pipes
- Roach clips
- Any other instrument used for the ingestion of drugs
Drug manufacturing kits, cutting devices, and testing equipment also fall within the ambit of drug paraphernalia under the Act.
Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Possession Penalties
Possessing drug paraphernalia in Illinois carries with it significant penalties. In order for you receive criminal penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia, a judge or jury must first find you guilty and convict you of the charge. Once that happens, it falls upon a criminal court judge to pass sentence in your case.
Many drug paraphernalia charges are Class A misdemeanor charges. Upon conviction, a judge could sentence you to a maximum of one year in jail, along with a maximum monetary fine of $2,500. Instead of imposing jail time as a penalty, the judge may, in the alternative, impose a period of supervised or unsupervised probation. During the term of probation, the accused will likely have to report to a probation officer and complete other requirements, such as community service. Even if the judge decides to impose probation instead of incarceration, the accused will still have a criminal record showing the drug paraphernalia charge.
It is also illegal to sell or attempt to sell drug paraphernalia to someone else in the State of Illinois. If you are caught selling drug paraphernalia, you could face charges of any one of the following, depending upon the facts and circumstances of your case:
- Class 4 felony for selling drug paraphernalia – A Class 4 felony conviction of this nature can result in between one and three years in jail, along with a maximum monetary fine of $25,000.
- Class 3 felony for drug paraphernalia sale by someone aged 18 or older to someone who is under 18 years of age – A Class 3 felony conviction of this nature can result in between two and five years in jail, as well as a maximum monetary fine of $25,000.
- Class 2 felony for the sale of items associated with the manufacture, use, sale, or delivery of drugs to a pregnant woman – A Class 2 felony conviction of this nature can result in between three and seven years in jail, as well as a maximum monetary fine of $25,000.
Given the potential penalties upon conviction for possessing or selling drug paraphernalia in the State of Illinois, it is not a good idea to risk representing yourself during a criminal case. The experienced drug paraphernalia defense attorneys at Martin & Kent, L.L.C. can represent you during your entire criminal case and can make sure that we protect and safeguard your constitutional and legal rights at all times.
Defenses to Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Charges
If you are currently facing drug paraphernalia possession charges or related drug possession charges, you will have the opportunity to introduce one or more legal defenses in court. If you are able to assert a successful defense to your charge, the prosecutor may have no alternative but to dismiss your criminal charge—and possibly your entire criminal case. Some common legal defenses that are frequently available to criminal defendants in cases that involve drug paraphernalia include the following:
- No illegal purpose – The accused may be able to argue that he or she did not possess the paraphernalia in question for any unlawful purpose. Since the Act characterizes drug-related objects very broadly, in some instances, a prosecutor will issue drug paraphernalia charges improperly. For example, individuals who suffer from diabetes and who must inject themselves may be legally in possession of the same types of needles that heroin addicts use. Moreover, bags and scales that are sometimes used to store and weigh illegal substances can also be used in cooking and for other legal purposes.
- Lack of sufficient evidence – In some cases, the prosecution may simply not have sufficient evidence to show that the accused intended to use the paraphernalia at issue for an illegal purpose. When that occurs, the court has the discretion to make a determination about the item’s true purpose. If the prosecution fails to introduce sufficient evidence to show the purpose and intent of use for the item or objects in question, then the court could ultimately dismiss the charge or the criminal case in its entirety.
- Lack of probable cause – In order for a police officer to seize suspected drugs or drug paraphernalia, he or she must ordinarily have probable cause. In some cases, for example, police officers or investigators must have relied on false or inaccurate information in order for them to obtain their search warrant. In other cases, the search and seizure of the drugs or drug paraphernalia may have violated the accused’s Fourth Amendment constitutional rights. In either case, lack of probable cause could conceivably lead to a dismissal of the criminal charge and/or the entire criminal case.
- Failing to follow proper police or investigative procedures – When police officers and criminal investigators are in a hurry to wrap up a particular investigation, they sometimes forget or neglect to follow proper procedures and protocols. When this happens, any evidence uncovered as a result, such as drugs or drug paraphernalia, may ultimately be suppressed, and a prosecutor may not be able to introduce any of this evidence in court at a criminal trial.
The knowledgeable DuPage, Kane, and Cook County drug defense attorneys at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., may be able to raise some or all of these legal defenses on your behalf at a criminal trial. Even if a complete defense is not available under your circumstances, your attorney may still be able to argue for and negotiate a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor (as opposed to going through a long criminal trial), or get the prosecutor to agree to a significant charge reduction.
Contact Our Skilled Criminal Lawyers in DuPage, Kane, and Cook Counties
When we take on a drug crime case, our goal is to always obtain the most favorable outcome for our client. We do this by introducing strong legal defenses on your behalf, negotiating favorable plea deals with state prosecutors, and arguing for smaller penalties or favorable terms of probation on your behalf. Our legal team has a long track record of success, which we attribute to our experience, extensive knowledge of the Illinois justice system, and our dedication to fighting for the rights of our clients. Are you ready to learn more about how Martin & Kent, L.L.C., could help you? Call our office today at (630) 474-8000 to schedule a free case evaluation.