Westchester County Drug Paraphernalia Lawyer
As part of the national crackdown on drugs, most states have enacted laws that target not only drug manufacturing, possession, and usage, but also the possession of items that relate to illegal drug use. You can face various degrees of criminal offenses for drug paraphernalia possession and usage under state and federal law. If you are facing these charges, a Westchester drug paraphernalia lawyer could help protect your rights and stand up for your interests.
You may face drug paraphernalia charges and a permanent record of a drug-related conviction, even if you have no illegal controlled substances in your possession. Since the ramifications of a drug conviction can be harsh, enlisting the help of a highly qualified drug attorney is vital. With experienced legal counsel on your side, you could work toward a better resolution of your case.
What is Drug Paraphernalia?
Drug paraphernalia is equipment or supplies that someone uses to produce, store, or use illegal controlled substances. Some of these items are not necessarily illegal on their own, but when found with drug residue on them or in large quantities, the assumption is that they constitute drug paraphernalia. Alternatively, if someone would not usually have these items in their possession unless they were using, manufacturing, or selling drugs, then the items may be considered drug paraphernalia. Common types of drug paraphernalia involved in these charges include:
- Pipes and bongs
- Plastic bags
- Grow lights
- Cigarette rolling papers
Other types of paraphernalia may include the chemicals necessary to manufacture methamphetamines, such as pseudoephedrine, acetone, anhydrous ammonia, ether, red phosphorus, and lithium. While these items alone may not be illegal, they can constitute evidence when combined with other objects for drug usage or manufacturing. A Westchester lawyer can help those facing drug paraphernalia charges, either alone or in conjunction with other possession, manufacturing, or trafficking charges.
Penalties for Controlled Substance Paraphernalia in Westchester County
Under New York Penal Code § 220.50, it is a Class A misdemeanor to criminally use drug paraphernalia in the second degree. Individuals commit this offense if they have dilutants and adulterants used to dilute narcotics, packing supplies such as capsules and glassine envelopes, or equipment used to weigh drugs, such as scales and balances. The potential penalty for a Class A misdemeanor conviction can include up to one year in jail.
Likewise, the criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the first degree is a Class D felony according to New York Penal Code § 220.55. This offense occurs when someone has a previous conviction for the criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree. A Class D felony conviction can result in up to seven years in prison. A lawyer in Westchester County could help someone avoid or minimize the penalties associated with drug paraphernalia charges.
What if The Alleged Paraphernalia Was Taken Without a Search Warrant?
An arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia requires the police to acquire some sort of physical evidence that is the alleged paraphernalia. How the police obtain this evidence could play a pivotal role in whether it is admissible at trial. If the police seize evidence without a warrant, it could be excluded at trial. Individuals are protected from unlawful searches and seizures by the constitution, and a violation of these rights could present a strong defense in a criminal case.
If a defense attorney in Westchester County is able to exclude the alleged drug paraphernalia from trial, the state will have a difficult time making their case. Given this reality, these motions frequently result in the dismissal of charges.
Plea Bargains a Controlled Substance Paraphernalia Case
There is no easy way to determine whether a plea bargain is a good idea in a drug paraphernalia case. This is because every case is different. What is important to understand is that pleading guilty at an arraignment offers a defendant little incentive. By pleading not guilty, the defendant has the opportunity to discuss their case with an attorney or seek a plea agreement. Pleading guilty puts them at the mercy of the court.
How Could a Lawyer Help in a Drug Paraphernalia Case?
Compared to some controlled substance offenses, a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia is considered by some people to be a lower-level offense. This is especially true for misdemeanor paraphernalia charges. Yet, an arrest for paraphernalia could lead to significant consequences.
Anyone facing charges for possession of drug paraphernalia could benefit from a discussion with a defense attorney in Westchester County. Even if the state’s case seems air-tight, a lawyer might have insight into a viable defense that is not obvious from the surface.
What is more, an attorney could provide context behind a plea bargain offer from the state. For example, they could rely on their experience to highlight if an offer is overly harsh or reasonable.
Seek Legal Help from a Westchester Drug Paraphernalia Attorney
While these charges on their own may not be as severe as other offenses, they often accompany more serious drug charges. Therefore, fighting these allegations may be crucial to your ability to maintain your current personal and professional standing in the community. A Westchester drug paraphernalia lawyer could help you fight back against these and related charges. Call today for a consultation to learn more.