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Tennessee Bar Association
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Drug Paraphernalia

In Tennessee, it is illegal to own or be in control of items that are used for drug consumption. In many cases, you do not have to be caught with any controlled substances in order to be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for perfectly legal items to be misconstrued as drug paraphernalia in order to increase the criminal charges against you.

If you are charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, it is important that you seek the guidance and representation of a reliable, experienced criminal defense attorney. Call us for a free and confidential consultation at (615) 622- 0595.

What is Considered Drug Paraphernalia?

Under Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-435, drug paraphernalia is defined as any equipment used "to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance." This includes a broad range of instruments from a bong to a crack pipe to small sandwich bags.

In order to determine whether an item is drug paraphernalia, the court or police officer will consider the following:

  • Statements by the owner or person in control of the object,
  • Prior convictions,
  • Existence of residue of controlled substance,
  • Instructions or descriptive materials provided with the object concerning use,
  • Expert testimony.

Equipment that typically qualifies as drug paraphernalia includes rolling papers, pipes, razor blades, needles, capsules, grinders, and containers. Several of these objects can easily be misconstrued as illegal drug paraphernalia. In the case of CBD, owning and using a marijuana pipe or bong is perfectly legal when used to smoke CBD. However, an officer could easily charge you with drug offenses for a completely legal activity, which can have serious repercussions.

Simple possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which may result in a maximum jail sentence of 11 months and 29 days and a maximum fine of $2,500 for a first offense. Not only that, but your first conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia requires that you pay a mandatory $150 fine and the second conviction is a mandatory $250 fine.

Contact Baker Associates

Contact our knowledgeable attorneys to discuss the possibility of diversion or an outright dismissal.