Sometimes, a spoon is just a piece of cutlery or a syringe is just a piece of medical equipment. However, there are situations in which common items such as these may be considered drug paraphernalia. Because the possession of drug paraphernalia is against the law, it is important to understand what it is, so those facing criminal charges can make informed decisions in their case.

Per federal law, drug paraphernalia cannot be offered, sold, mailed or transported to another individual. It also cannot be exported or imported. Alabama law also addresses drug paraphernalia. Under Alabama Code §13A-12-260, drug paraphernalia includes any equipment, materials or products that are meant to be produced, grown, packaged or used to introduce an unlawful controlled substance into a person’s body. The Code contains a long list of products that could be considered drug paraphernalia.

When it comes to deciding whether something constitutes drug paraphernalia, there are numerous factors that may be considered. These include: statements made by the accused; prior convictions on controlled substance offenses; the proximity of the object at issue to a controlled substance; any residue of a controlled substance that may be left on the object at issue; instructions or descriptions on how the object at issue is supposed to be used; advertising of the object at issue; whether the person in control of the object can lawfully supply such objects to others; and more.

A person who unlawfully possesses or uses drug paraphernalia commits a Class A misdemeanor. This may be on top of other drug crimes charges a person may face, including the unlawful possession, sale or manufacturing of a controlled substance. When combined, these charges can result in serious consequences. Therefore, those who are accused of unlawfully possessing drug paraphernalia will want to build a strong case that proves the object at issue was being used lawfully and legitimately.