Getting Caught with Drug Paraphernalia is a Crime
In the war against drugs, Oklahoma has armed itself with a number of laws concerning possession not only of an illegal drug, but also of drug paraphernalia usually associated with the use of certain narcotics.
Oklahoma has strict laws about the possession of certain types of drug paraphernalia. It is normal to find certain paraphernalia together with an illegal substance during an arrest for drug possession. For example, a syringe is often used with heroin.
Are All Types of Drug Paraphernalia Illegal?
The short answer is no. The better question is how does one distinguish between what is considered to be legal and what is considered to be illegal. This is often a thorny question, one that an experienced criminal defense attorney can really help with.
In Oklahoma, illegal drug paraphernalia is defined as equipment, materials or products used or intended to be used, or made especially for use, with a controlled dangerous substance under Oklahoma law. This includes products used to plant, propagate, harvest, manufacture, conceal, use with, or ingest an illegal drug in any manner. Okla. Stat. tit. 63 § 2-101 (36)
Going back to the previous example, a syringe can be used legally by a diabetic for medical reasons. How do you determine legality in these types of circumstances?
In essence, a court looks to surrounding circumstances to make its decision. This is an area filled with ambiguity and one in which an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a big difference.
A court will examine the product’s normal uses to determine if the product is illegal as used. In the case of the syringe, possession of a valid prescription for insulin goes a long way toward proving your innocence.
Your testimony or that of an expert may be required to prove your innocence. Okla. Stat. tit. 63 § 2-101.1
Other factors such as the proximity of the item to the drug may be a factor. The greater the distance, the less likely it is to be deemed illegal. Oral or written instructions provided with the item also may be indicative of its normal use and may go a long way in constructing a defense to this crime. Okla. Stat. tit. 63 § 2-101.1
In addition, the possession must be knowing and intentional. OUJI-CR 6-7
The prosecution must prove that you knew that the paraphernalia was to be used with an illegal substance, and that this was your intention.
Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Sentences vary with the circumstances and number of prior convictions. A first-time conviction of possession of illegal drug paraphernalia is chargeable as a misdemeanor in Oklahoma. A conviction could mean a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
With subsequent convictions, the fine amount escalates. A second conviction could cost you up to $5,000 in fines, while a third conviction means you could pay up to $10,000 in fines. Okla. Stat. tit. 63 § 2-405
However, a conviction involving the sale or giving of a piece of drug paraphernalia to a child under the age of 18 is considered a felony, which means mandatory jail time.
Your freedom could depend on the choices you make now. Don’t try to go it alone. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney in the Claremore area.
Free Consultation with an Experienced Claremore Criminal Defense Attorney
Freedom is precious. Don’t try to go this one alone. Get the help you need.
Claremore Lawyer is here to help you. Don’t delay. Call us today.
And your initial consultation is free. Call us at 918-213-0950.
If you prefer written correspondence, submit your question using the form at the top right of this page.