Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in California

Sec 11364 of the Health and Safety Code of the State of California states that individuals are prohibited from possessing the following:

  • an opium pipe or similar device;
  • any other contrivance or instrument or paraphernalia;
  • used for the unlawful use or distribution of illegal drugs or controlled substances.

The following are the elements of the crime of possession of drug paraphernalia:

Control. The drug paraphernalia should be controlled by the accused. This control can either be constructive or actual and opportune proximity is not within the purview of the law.

Knowledge. The individual in possession of these items should know the illegality and the purpose that these items are used. These include illegally injecting, smoking or consumption of the illegal drugs. Examples of these are hypodermic needles and syringes, glass pipes and small spoons. Other drug paraphernalia, this time for distribution and sale, include scales and balances that measure small amounts, blenders, cutters or other implements that “cut up” the illegal substances.

Even if there is possession of known drug paraphernalia as listed under the law, there are still exemptions that the law provides. These include possession of these items for personal use with a receipt from a valid and legal source. The possession, especially for hypodermics and syringes, should not be more than ten (10) items at any particular instance. In this particular statute, the items are not illegal per se but their purpose must be used in conjunction with all the other present circumstances in the case.

One of the aspects of this law that is worth knowing is its integrated purpose of diversion under Penal Code 1000 PC. This is what is known as “deferred entry of judgment” program, where in non-violent drug crimes can be rehabilitated under differing circumstances. To avail of this program, the individual needs to enter of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere plea and from there the imposable sentence would be probation with the stipulation of mandatory attendance in a drug rehabilitation program.

This crime is most often related to other drug or violence offenses. In order to be protected of your rights during the processing of your illegal possession of drug paraphernalia charge, you need to obtain experienced and expert legal representation. Do call the law firm of Ramiro D. Lluis for a free consultation and representation.

The crime of possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone undergoing this process, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.