Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Texas
What is Drug Paraphernalia?
Possession of drug paraphernalia in Texas is a fairly common crime. Paraphernalia are things related to the use, sale, storage, or creation of illegal drugs. The short answer is, if it’s related to drugs, it’ll be considered paraphernalia by police. Some examples of drug paraphernalia in Texas are bongs, bowls, grinders, vapes, one-hitters, plastic baggies, digital or weight scales, pipes, steel wool, and cooking spoons etc…
Most of the cases of possession of drug paraphernalia I’ve seen come when people are pulled over by police for traffic stops. People, usually young kids, leave their bowls or roaches in the ashtray of their cars. When the police stop them, these illegal items are in plain view. When illegal items are in plain view, police won’t need a warrant to search your car.
What is the punishment for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?
The punishment for possessing drug paraphernalia is normally a Class C Misdemeanor under Texas law. This means that it’s a $500 fine with no jail time attached, but don’t let that fool you! WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T “JUST PLEAD GUILTY” TO ANY DRUG CHARGE. Drug charges, even a Class C Misdemeanor, can have long lasting collateral consequences on your life. It isn’t “Just a Ticket” like a speeding ticket is. One of these consequences, if convicted or you plead guilty, can be your inability to qualify for student financial aid for school. If you possess the paraphernalia and distribute it to someone else or you possess it WITH the intent to distribute it to someone else, you’re looking at up to 1 year in jail, a $4,000 fine, or both!
Can I have a jury trial for a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge?
The answer is YES. Under Texas law, you can request a jury trial for even a speeding ticket! It is your Constitutional right to have a trial by jury. never request a trial by judge without the advice of an attorney. (Read that blog post I just linked to for an explanation why you want a jury trial).
Consult a lawyer before you decide to just mail a check into the Court and plead guilty.