Possession of DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
Thank you for visiting the Lampman Law website. Lampman Law is located on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and we practice throughout northeastern and central Pennsylvania. From the time Lampman Law opened we have focused on criminal defense, have been in Pennsylvania criminal courts daily, and have represented good people that have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and trusted us to defend them.
We understand that even though misdemeanor drug paraphernalia violations do not have the gravity and/or severe penalties associated with felony drug crimes—any drug charge can have a devastating long-term impact on an individual’s criminal record, employment opportunities, and reputation.
More Importantly, we understand how to defend drug paraphernalia cases—we prepare to attack and to win. Lampman Law is always ready and willing to fight and will perform a full investigation of all cases we handle before offering our advice concerning a case’s resolution. In short, we insist on reviewing all the evidence before concluding on the strength or weakness of a case. It is equally important, however, that we always offer direct and honest advice to our clients. If, after reviewing all the evidence, we determine that a case is unlikely to succeed we timely advise our clients of our opinion and fully explain our reasoning in detail. Often, we resolve drug paraphernalia cases without jail time or probation supervision.
WHY HIRE LAMPMAN LAW?
Direct & Honest Advice
Two Experienced, Prepared & Skilled Defenders
Responsive & Aimed on Client Satisfaction
Clear & Descriptive & All-inclusive Written Fee
Possession of DRUG PARAPHERNALIA - 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(32)
Pennsylvania’s Definition of Drug Paraphernalia
Section (a)(32) provides that the following activities are prohibited:
The use of, or possession with intent to use, drug paraphernalia for the purpose of planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this act.
The term drug paraphernalia is defined in section 780-102(b)(9) to include among other items:
Capsules, balloons, envelopes and other containers used, intended for use or designed for use in packaging small quantities of controlled substances.
Thus, Drug Paraphernalia is anything used to produce, pack, store, conceal, measure, or use an illegal narcotic. It is the needle, pipe, straw, rolling papers, roach clip, scale, or Ziploc sandwich bag the illegal drug is in.
Elements of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
To sustain their burden of proof, Commonwealth must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused: (1) possessed or constructively an item; and, (2) that the item possessed were used or intended to be used with a controlled substance.
This burden may be met by the Commonwealth through circumstantial evidence.
Summary of Notice and Process
Individuals possessing Drug Paraphernalia are not typically taken into police custody or otherwise held by the police. Pursuant to the rules of criminal procedure suspects are released and are notified of the charges via mail. The accused is given a court date and a copy of the criminal complaint that states the officer’s basis for filing the charges. A fingerprint order is usually issues requiring the accused to appear for processing (fingerprinting and photographing). Upon being processed the accused person is released.
Pursuant to Pennsylvania Law, possessing Drug paraphernalia is an ungraded misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 1-year incarceration or probation and a $2,500.00 maximum fine.
Criminal Consequences of a Drug Paraphernalia Conviction
Depending on the facts and circumstances, a conviction to this offense can be resolved with paying a fine and court costs, a probationary sentence, and/or jail. It is often penalized with a fine and court costs.
Paraphernalia offenses have the lowest offense gravity score (OGS) of 1. This means that unless an offender’s prior record score falls in the repeat felon category the court can legally issue a probationary sentence.
Collateral Consequences of a Drug Paraphernalia Conviction
Criminal Record of Drug Offense
A conviction to this offense will remain on an offender’s record for at least 10 years after the penalty (fines are paid, and supervision is completed). If the offender is free of prosecutions following the final disposition of the case, they can seek a limited access order to remove the offense from their criminal history.
Educational / Professional / Employment Consequences
Any drug conviction may preclude participation in certain educational programs. Likewise, even a drug arrest will likely result in some action from a professional license board. Further, it may be more difficult for an offender to obtain employment with this conviction on their record, and an employer may terminate someone convicted of the offense.
What Options Are Available?
What Options are Available to Resolve a Drug Paraphernalia Charge?
An accused charged with Possessing Drug Paraphernalia is entitled to a jury trial. Trial is not often pursued by the accused in these cases because of the: time commitment required (multiple court appearances); financial expense in lawyer fees; general stress of having a pending case; their desire to quickly resolve the case; and/or, they decide that a different resolution was a better option. This is unfortunate because some of these cases have excellent constitutional arguments (suppression bases on illegal stop, search, seizure) and other viable defenses.
Many people accused of this offense want to resolve the case as soon as possible. This can often (but not always) be accomplished at the preliminary hearing, which is typically the first court appearance for these offenses.
When entering any guilty plea, it is essential that the accuses is first fully advised of all their options and of all the consequences to entering the plea. When clients desire this resolution, Lampman Law attempts to first reduce the charges. Depending on the facts of the case, the accused prior record score, and specific goals, there are strategic advantages concerning where, when, and, of course, what to plead guilty to.
If an accused is eligible for a diversion program such as PWOV (Section 17) or the ARD program, the option must be fully explained and discussed. In fact, cases that are not factually suitable for suppression challenges or trial may be best resolved with PWOV or ARD. Moreover, these programs are often desired because they offer more control over the result and, if successfully completed, dismissal of the charges with the option for expungement. While these programs require a term of probation and may be more expensive than a plea at the magistrate court, they should be considered by anyone with a clean record that is determined to move past the case without a conviction.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love has been charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Pennsylvania call Lampman Law today at 570-371-3737 for free consultation.