A drug possession charge may be troublesome enough to deal with. However, there are other offenses related to having illegal drugs that could add time to a possible prison sentence. Possessing drug paraphernalia is one example, as North Carolina law classifies it as a Class I misdemeanor.
Generally, drug paraphernalia refers to devices, tools or goods used for making or distributing controlled substances. However, the definition of drug paraphernalia differs by state. Therefore, you should know what North Carolina legislators have written into state law concerning paraphernalia.
The uses of paraphernalia
State law defines many different objects as paraphernalia. Examples include testing equipment, scales and balances, and injection devices such as syringes and needles. However, state law also describes drug paraphernalia by their actions in relation to drugs. Such actions include the following:
- Growing or harvesting drugs
- Manufacturing, compounding or otherwise modifying drugs
- Analyzing or measuring drugs
- Packaging or concealing drugs
- Introducing drugs into the human body
Given the variety of actions involved, almost anything such as plastic bags, bowls, spoons, or other common household items could qualify as drug paraphernalia.
The intention to use paraphernalia
However, simply having items that the state could consider drug paraphernalia is not enough to qualify for a paraphernalia charge. North Carolina law also requires that someone must knowingly use tools or goods to handle drugs or willfully have devices and goods in order to use them as paraphernalia.
Given that intentions factor into paraphernalia charges, it is important to keep this in mind in a possible defense. In addition, you could also have legal drugs and medicines, in which case items you use to ingest should not count as illegal.