Timothy O. McCalep

What classifies as drug paraphernalia?

You have seen stories about drug busts on the news and heard about them from your friends. You know that drug possession is illegal in Georgia and while you hope that your teenager is not engaging in those kinds of activities, you suspect that he might be smoking marijuana on occasion. You hope that he never gets caught with the illegal substance, but what if the police catch him with drug paraphernalia? Furthermore, what actually classifies as drug paraphernalia?

If the court has charged your child with drug possession or the possession of drug paraphernalia, it is important to remember that he still has rights. An experienced criminal defense attorney in the Atlanta area can help your child fight for his rights. Below is some important information on drug paraphernalia classifications.


Under federal law, an individual cannot sell or offer to sell any kind of drug-related paraphernalia. In addition, the law also bans mailing, interstate transport and even the import or export of such items. Under state laws, the court can charge a person with possession of paraphernalia if that individual simply has the items on his or her person regardless of intent to sell. Prosecutors usually use evidence such as residue to prove if the item was used in the smoking, ingesting or injecting of an illegal substance.

Two categories

There are two categories that drug paraphernalia fall into: items used to distribute and items used to ingest. Scales, large quantities of baggies and other such items usually fall into the distribution category. Pipes, bongs and syringes usually fall into the ingestion category. Officers consider the context of the item to determine which category it belongs to.

Common types

Federal laws classify some very specific items as drug paraphernalia. Roach clips, water pipes, glass and wood pipes all fall into the prohibited drug paraphernalia category. Some states consider weighing equipment, purity testing kits and several other items as prohibited paraphernalia.


A conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia usually comes with lesser penalties than actual drug possession. A federal conviction might come with a maximum of three years in prison as well as a punitive fine. A conviction at the state level might also include jail time and fines.

If your child has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, it is important to find strong courtroom representation. A drug charge can cause long-term problems including finding employment and even renting an apartment. An attorney in the Atlanta area with criminal defense experience can help your child fight back against drug charges.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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