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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Drug Paraphernalia in Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Defense

drug paraphernalia IllinoisMany of us know of someone who has been convicted of some drug-related crime in their lifetime. Some of us may try to minimize the severity of the crime by suggesting that it was “just marijuana” or “just a little bit.” The truth of the matter is, it does not matter whether it is your first or fifth drug offense, whether it is marijuana or methamphetamine, or whether it is a bong or a needle. While each of these crimes vary in punishment under the eyes of the law, they each can have a significant impact on your future. Even if you are caught “just” possessing drug paraphernalia, without any drugs at all, you still may be subject to steep criminal penalties.

What is Drug Paraphernalia?

Drug paraphernalia, according to Illinois law, is all equipment, products and materials that are intended to be unlawfully utilized to plant, cultivate, prepare, inject, ingest, inhale, or use any synthetic drug or controlled substance. The full definition of drug paraphernalia is part of the Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Control Act. The drug methamphetamine has an entirely separate section and associated punishments under the act.

What Happens If I am Caught With Drug Paraphernalia?

The short answer is that it depends on the circumstances. Generally speaking, a person who knowingly possesses paraphernalia with the intent to use it for drug-related purposes can be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. This is the most severe category of misdemeanors and requires a minimum $750 fine in addition to other penalties. A court may take into consideration whether there was a presence of drugs in addition to the paraphernalia.  This law requires “knowing” possession; that means you had to be aware of your possession; i.e. it was not accidental.

Determining whether someone “knowingly” possessed an item of paraphernalia can be difficult to ascertain. Consider this: you are driving a friend who you know smokes marijuana. Are you supposed to know they might have a pipe with them or that they might leave it in your car? If you know they smoke, or if you smoked with them, it is more reasonable that you knew they might have paraphernalia and may leave it in your vehicle upon their departure. This simple example demonstrates the fine line between knowing and unknowing and shows why it is always best to separate yourself from the situation entirely, whether you were participating in the unlawful activity or not.

Possession is not the only circumstance to consider. It is also unlawful under Illinois law to sell or deliver drug paraphernalia. If found guilty of this offense, it is a class 4 felony with an associated fine of not less than $1,000 per seized item. The felony is class 2 (more severe) if the person responsible for the sale or delivery knows the person to whom they are delivering or selling is pregnant. Additionally, any store where drug paraphernalia is sold may be declared a public nuisance and may have associated penalties.

What Now?

Just because you keep your drugs separate from your drug paraphernalia does not mean you are shielded from the law. Also, just because the corner store you frequent has marijuana pipes and bongs for sale does not mean they are operating within the confines of the law. It is important to tread very cautiously when being around people that you know are involved in illegal activity, regardless of “how” illegal it is. Marijuana or drug paraphernalia charges can have lasting consequences on your future and it is not worth the risk.

If you or someone you know has been caught with drugs or drug paraphernalia, you need an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney on your side. Our knowledgeable drug lawyers serve the DuPage, Kent, Kane, and Cook County areas, and have the negotiation skills and experience to help lessen the impact this may have on your life. We may be able to help you avoid incarceration, lower or even dismiss your charges. If we are unable to dismiss your charges, you may be eligible to have the conviction removed from your record in the future under a procedure known as expungement. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your drug or drug paraphernalia possession charges, know that the attorneys at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. are ready to hear your side of the story. Contact us at 630-472-9700 today.

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