Minnesota law makes it clear that possession of drug paraphernalia is illegal. Anyone who has drug paraphernalia is breaking the law.
The first offense is a petty misdemeanor. Subsequent arrests for unlawful drug paraphernalia possession might carry more severe consequences. Anyone arrested for three or more times for drug paraphernalia possession could face criminal charges. Those charges could include to jail for up to 90 days, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
Federal charges are also possible. It could be charged as a federal offense if you are accused of trying to distribute or sell the items. Three or more convictions of these federal offenses could lead to serious problems. You could face a significant fine and up to three years in prison.
What qualifies as drug paraphernalia?
Drug paraphernalia includes equipment, material or product used for controlled substances. It includes equipment used for:
- Enhancing drug effects
- Testing (effectiveness, purity and strength)
- Use (ingesting, inhaling or injecting the drug)
There are defenses to drug paraphernalia possession allegations
Charges of possession of drug paraphernalia are common. There are ways to defend yourself if you are accused of possessing them.
- Courts will look at the details of your case. Were you also in possession of drugs? Were you near a school? Who was with you when the police arrested you?
- Intent/use. Many things that used for drug paraphernalia also have other, non-drug uses. The prosecutor will try to show you intended to use it for drug use. You might be able to prove you did not have any intention to use it for drugs.
It is also important to prevent charges from getting out of hand. Even petty misdemeanor charges are serious. You can defend yourself if you face these charges.