The Crime of Possessing Drug Paraphernalia in California - HS 11364
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a criminal offense covered under California Health and Safety Code 11364.
It's basically defined as any type of equipment or material that is modified to make, use, or hide illegal controlled substances.
This would include heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, or any other type of illegal drugs.
Drug paraphernalia generally falls into a user-specific or dealer-specific group.
User-specific would include items such as pipes, syringes, spoons, rolling papers, roach clips, freebase kits, or any small containers used to conceal drugs.
Dealer-specific paraphernalia would include any items used by a dealer to prepare drug portions for sale on the streets, including scales and baggies.
When someone is found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia, they could be arrested at the scene and later charged with either a misdemeanor or felony offense.
How this drug crime offense is filed by a prosecutor is based on whether the paraphernalia in your case was for an individual use or for drug dealing purposes.
Other factors include whether or not illegal drugs were discovered in your possession, the amount of illegal substances, criminal history, and if the defendant has any prior drug crime convictions.
Getting Immediate Advice on your Drug Paraphernalia Case
If you are under criminal investigation or have already been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, it's critical to obtain legal advice and representation immediately.
Our Los Angeles drug crime defense lawyers have successfully defended clients against drug related crimes for over five decades.
Early intervention into your case by our top-ranked criminal law firm could have a major impact on the outcome of your case.
It may be possible to avoid the filing of formal criminal charges. Early involvement by one of our criminal defense attorneys is one of our best strategies to help our clients avoid life-changing consequences associated with a drug crime conviction.
Legal Consequences of a Drug Paraphernalia Conviction
If you are found guilty of misdemeanor Health and Safety Code 11364, the legal penalties can include six months in county jail, a fine up to $1,000, community service, probation, drug rehabilitation program.
For those defendants who hold a professional license, such as a real-estate agent, teacher, attorneys, a conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia could result in a loss or suspension of their license.
Legal Defense against a Drug Paraphernalia Case
An experienced drug crime defense lawyer may use a variety of legal defenses for their client, including:
- You did not have possession of the paraphernalia,
- You were not aware it was paraphernalia,
- You did not have knowledge of the paraphernalia's presence,
- The item was not drug paraphernalia,
- The paraphernalia was found as a result of an illegal search and seizure.
Drug Diversion and Alternative Sentencing Options
Some individuals convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia will typically be eligible for alternative sentencing, commonly known as drug diversion.
The court can offer this program in lieu of jail time. It's available for defendant's who committed a non-violent drug crime offense. This type of court sentence falls under California Proposition 36, Penal Code 1000 drug diversion, known as "deferred entry of judgment."
When a defendant enters into a drug diversion program, they enter a plea of “no contest.”
As part of their probation, the judge will order them to complete drug rehabilitation. Once successfully completed, the judge will dismiss the charges.
If the defendant fails to complete the program, the judge can order them to serve jail time. It's designed as an rehabilitation opportunity for drug addicts.
Contact a Los Angeles Drug Crime Defense Lawyer
If you or a member of you family have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, it is highly recommended you contact our law firm as soon as possible to obtain important information about the criminal charges and potential legal penalties.
A conviction for a drug related crime can have a very serious impact on your personal and professional life.
We are former Los Angele prosecutors and know how the criminal justice works.
Whatever the circumstances of your drug crime arrest, getting a case review from a criminal defense lawyer at Eisner Gorin LLP is your best opportunity to avoid the most serious outcome.
Our law firm serves clients in all Los Angeles County courts, including the San Fernando Valley. We are available for a free immediate response 24/7, by calling our office at (877-781-1570.