Can I be Arrested for Having a Pot Pipe?
Did you know it could be illegal to own a bong or pot pipe in New Jersey? If you are pulled over by the police for a minor traffic offense and the police officer notices a pipe or bong in plain sight at the time of the traffic stop, you could be facing serious charges. Anytime you buy a pipe or bong with the intent of using it for illegal drugs, you could be facing a possession of drug paraphernalia (N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2) charge which is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey.
What is Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2)?
Drug paraphernalia in New Jersey, for legal purposes, is essentially anything that any drug has touched or been transported in. The statute lists specifically what functions drug paraphernalia can be used for, and it really covers all the bases,
“plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body…”
With all of these things listed specifically in the statute, it is very likely any item that is remotely involved in drug use will be considered paraphernalia. This includes a variety of objects that are not at all specific for drug use. For instance, a spoon that has been used to ingest illegal drugs, a common sandwich bag that has been used to transport drugs, or a flower pot that was used to grow illegal drugs all fall safely under the legislative umbrella of “paraphernalia.”
What's the Defense for a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charge?
There are a few different types of defenses to this charge. When first reviewing your case at Villani & DeLuca, P.C., we will assess whether there are any constitutional defenses available. This means we will analyze the legality of the traffic stop (if in a vehicle), the lawfulness of the search and seizure, and other procedural safeguards law enforcement must follow when making an arrest. If the law enforcement official overstepped his boundaries or violated your constitutional rights in order to make the arrest, the charges may not stand. Moreover, the statute includes the words “possess with intent to use.” While these may seem purely a formality to most people, they have a very direct and definite meaning in the legal world. Simply possessing drug paraphernalia is not illegal, the prosecution must show that the violator possessed the paraphernalia with the intent to use it. If this element of the crime cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution, the charges may not stand. At Villani & DeLuca, P.C., we take pride in fighting to ensure your constitutional rights are protected and your criminal record stays clean.
What are the Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?
Use or possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. This charge carries a maximum sentence of 6 months in jail and fines totaling $1,000. It also puts an ugly stain on your criminal record and has the potential to interfere with future employment, rental, and licensing opportunities. Because of the lasting stigma this charge leaves, it is very important to secure excellent legal representation immediately following this charge.
Villani & DeLuca, P.C. has seen many drug paraphernalia charges and our attorneys are aggressive in their defense. The first consultation is FREE and we would be happy to review the facts concerning your case and implement an aggressive and effective legal defense. Call today at 732-820-1256.