Drug paraphernalia charges involve the instruments and materials typically used to produce or consume a controlled dangerous substance, controlled substance analog or toxic chemical in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-2. The items that commonly fall under the umbrella of drug paraphernalia are bongs, scales, pipes, and syringes. However, this is a far from exhaustive list of the potential articles that could constitute drug paraphernalia under N.J.S.A. 2C:36-1. If you or a loved one was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, you are face a 2C criminal record if you are convicted, along with up to six (6) months in jail. The hard work of our attorneys can, in most cases, result in avoidance of a conviction. Give us a call anytime of day at 862-203-4070 for assistance. Our office appears in courts throughout Passaic County including courts like Paterson, Wayne, Clifton, Hawthorne, Haledon, Prospect Park and West Milford on a weekly basis.
Proving a Paraphernalia Charge Under N.J.S.A. 2C:36-1
In order to convict someone of possession of drug paraphernalia in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:36-1, the State must prove that the defendant possessed an item that was capable of being employed to possess or ingest drugs AND intended to use the item for the purpose of “planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled dangerous substance, controlled substance analog or toxic chemical.” In determining whether or not an object constitutes “drug paraphernalia” under this law, courts will consider the following factors:
- Statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object concerning its use;
- The proximity of the object of illegally possessed controlled dangerous substances, controlled substance analogs or toxic chemicals;
- The existence of any residue or illegally possessed controlled dangerous substances, controlled substances, controlled substance analogs or toxic chemicals on the object;
- Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, to deliver it to persons whom he knows intend to use the object to facilitate a violation of this act; the innocence of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, as to a direct violation of this act shall not prevent a finding that the object is intended for use as drug paraphernalia;
- Instructions, oral or written, provided with the object concerning its use;
- Descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict its use;
- National or local advertising whose purpose the person knows or should know is to promote the sale of objects intended for use as drug paraphernalia;
- The manner in which the object is displayed for sale;
- The existence and scope of legitimate uses for the object in the community; AND
- Expert testimony concerning its use.
The statute makes specific identification of the intent element, meaning that possession of drug paraphernalia is not illegal unless an intent to use said paraphernalia for criminal purposes is also present.
What Are the Penalties for Possessing Drug Paraphernalia?
A charge for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia is a disorderly persons offense pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:36-1. If you are convicted of this offense, you face up to six (6) months of imprisonment and a fine of $1,000.00 fine. Additionally, a conviction results in six month to two years revocation of your driving privileges.
Drug Paraphernalia Charges in Clifton NJ
If you are facing this charge, our lawyers are successful in avoiding the mandatory license suspension set forth under 2C:36-1 in most cases. You should also know that we frequently avoid a conviction to possession of drug paraphernalia altogether for our clients. Give us a call for immediate assistance at 862-203-4070.