Consequences of Possessing Drug Paraphernalia in Texas

According to the website of The Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, drug paraphernalia is defined as any item that is intended to use, conceal, or prepare an illicit drug. This can include common household items such as scales, measuring cups or spoons, bowls, bags or envelopes. Most commonly charges are made against the possession of pipes and bongs.

Sentences for these charges vary case by case, but there are guidelines for the sentences in Texas. First possession is considered a misdemeanor and has no prison sentence, but you can be charged a $500 fine, if you have no previous felonies. First possession with intent to sell the paraphernalia is also a misdemeanor, but can result in up to one year in prison and $4,000 in fines. Being charged a second time with possession and intent to sell is a felony with a mandatory 90 days to one year prison sentence and $4,000 in fines. Being charged with selling paraphernalia to a minor is a felony as well and carries a hefty mandatory prison sentence of 180 days to two years and $10,000 in fines. These are serious penalties that will later be shown on back ground checks and can affect your job outlook in the future.

It is possible to avoid serving time in prison if it is your first offense or if you were in possession of a very small amount of paraphernalia. County laws and regulations alter the punishments as well. Depending on your specific county and judge, you may to sentenced to community service, probation, and/or be required to enroll in a drug treatment program.

However, evidence of drug paraphernalia possession must be attained in a legal manner to prove the criminal charge. If the officers did not have probable cause, your consent to enter your residence, or a search warrant then you may be able to challenge the legality of the charges. Consult a criminal defense lawyer in your area to learn more about your specific legal options.