What Is Drug Paraphernalia?

It is possible to be arrested for a drug-related charge even without having any drugs on one’s person. This is because, in Virginia, it is also illegal to be in possession of drug paraphernalia. However, the line between drug paraphernalia and a lawful physical object is not always as clear as it seems.

Drug paraphernalia is a broad term that refers to items related to ingesting, packaging and manufacturing illegal substances. A pipe used for smoking certain substances is just one example of paraphernalia. Other types of drug paraphernalia that can lead to arrest include:

  • Bongs
  • Roach clips
  • Syringes or needles

Someone can also be charged for distributing drug paraphernalia. Federal law prohibits selling or even offering to sell someone paraphernalia. It is also not permitted to mail, import or export drug paraphernalia. Drug paraphernalia cannot be transported through interstate commerce.

However, it is possible for Virginia police officers to mistake a legal object for drug paraphernalia. For example, a spoon can be a perfectly reasonable item to have, but it can also be used in the preparation of certain drugs. In some situations, officers might check for any drug residue on an item.

Potential consequences for drug paraphernalia charges can be severe and may involve jail time and steep fines. A criminal record can follow a person for years to come, limiting his or her employment opportunities. Defendants who are interested in mounting a strong defense may want to consider seeking guidance when reviewing their charges and related evidence.