What Counts as Possessing Drug Paraphernalia?

Written by: The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata

Understanding Nevada Paraphernalia Crimes and Defenses

Drug crimes are aggressively prosecuted in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada. In addition to drug possession, distribution, and trafficking, a person can be charged with possessing drug paraphernalia. Under state law, any equipment that is used or intended to be used for ingesting or growing a controlled substance is considered paraphernalia.

At the Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata, we aggressively defend individuals charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in Las Vegas. We fight to protect your rights and your freedom when you are facing a criminal drug offense. If you have been arrested for drug paraphernalia, contact our office at (702) 553-1320 for a free consultation. 

What Is Paraphernalia?

Pursuant to NRS 453.554, drug paraphernalia is defined as any equipment, product, or material that is used for or intended to be used for planting, manufacturing, testing, packaging, or ingesting a controlled substance.

Paraphernalia may include but is not limited to:

  • Isomerization devices;
  • Testing equipment including scales and balances;
  • Diluents and adulterants;
  • Capsules, balloons, and other containers used for packaging or concealing controlled substances;
  • Blenders, bowls, spoons, and other containers used for mixing drugs;
  • Metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes;
  • Water pipes or chamber pipes;
  • Smoking masks;
  • Roach clips;
  • Cocaine pipes and carburetion tubes and devices;
  • Electric and air-driven pipes;
  • Chillums; 
  • Bongs; and
  • Ice pipes or chillers.

Drug paraphernalia under the Nevada Revised Statutes may also include kits used for planting or growing a species of plant that is classified as a controlled substance or kits used for manufacturing or preparing a drug. 

What Is Not Considered Paraphernalia?

Certain items are not considered paraphernalia under Nevada law. Devices such as hypodermic syringes and needles used to administer drugs subcutaneous, intramuscular, or intravenous injection are not included in the legal definition of drug paraphernalia.

What Factors Can Be Considered For Identifying Drug Paraphernalia?

The legal definition of what can constitute drug paraphernalia is extremely broad. Nearly any item used to store, mix, cultivate, or inhale a drug may be considered paraphernalia. A court may use several factors (NRS 453.556) to determine whether someone should be considered possessing paraphernalia.

Factors a court can consider in a drug paraphernalia case:

  • Statements by an owner or person in control of the object
  • Prior convictions;
  • The proximity of the object to a violation under the Controlled Substances Act;
  • The proximity of the object to a controlled substance;
  • Existence of residue;
  • Direct or circumstantial evidence about the use or intended use of the object or ratio of sales;
  • Instructions, descriptive materials, and advertising concerning the use of the object;
  • How the object is displayed for sale; and 
  • Expert testimony.

A person can be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia despite not having any controlled substance with them. Everyday items may also be considered drug paraphernalia if the prosecutor has enough evidence regarding how the object was used.

What Are the Penalties for Possessing Drug Paraphernalia?

If convicted of the unlawful use or possession of drug paraphernalia, you may face a misdemeanor punishable by up to six (6) months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. 

If convicted on the unlawful delivery, sale, possession, or manufacture of drug paraphernalia, you could face a Class E felony with a suspended sentence and probation. However, if there are prior convictions, you could face 1 to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

If convicted of unlawful delivery of drug paraphernalia to a minor, you could face a Class C felony punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Are There Any Defenses to Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?

It is important to note that there are defenses to drug paraphernalia charges. You should never accept a plea deal without first consulting with an experienced attorney. There may be issues with the chain of custody or false identification. The alleged paraphernalia may have been taken during an illegal search and seizure. 

Without the help of an attorney, you may not be able to defend against criminal drug charges. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Do not give up your right to protect yourself from a wrongful conviction. It is always advisable to contact an attorney immediately after an arrest so that they can begin to build a strategic defense in your case.

What to Do If You Have Been Arrested for Drug Paraphernalia

If you have been arrested in Las Vegas for drug paraphernalia, you need to contact an attorney immediately. At the Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata, we will work hard to prove your innocence and fight for a reduction or dismissal of your charges. 

Contact our office today at (702) 553-1320 to discuss your legal options after an arrest. Consultations are free and confidential.

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