New Jersey residents who are charged with drug possession may also face charges of possession of drug paraphernalia. People facing such violations might have questions about what accusations against them substantiate paraphernalia charges and what additional penalties they may face if they are convicted of possession of paraphernalia.
The Department of Justice describes drug paraphernalia as anything that people utilize to use, produce or hide illegal drugs. Common examples of paraphernalia are pipes, roach clips, needles, spoons or cocaine freebase kits. Many items marketed for use with tobacco, such as water pipes or cigarette papers, can also be used to consume drugs. In addition, products marketed as concealed stash boxes or pipes are often considered paraphernalia.
People who are accused of possessing or using drug paraphernalia in New Jersey are typically charged with Disorderly Persons offenses. These charges are similar to misdemeanors and carry a jail term of up to six months. People convicted of paraphernalia charges may also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,000. Selling paraphernalia is a felony that carries a term of imprisonment between three and five years and a fine of up to $15,000.
Paraphernalia charges are often concurrent with other drug charges that can have drastic effects on people's lives. Drug charges often result in imprisonment and high fines. When people are accused of drug charges, including paraphernalia offenses, the offenses appear on background checks even if they are not convicted. The profound effects drug charges have on accused people's lives are often intimidating. Criminal defense attorneys understand the gravity of drug charges and often work with prosecutors to discuss alternatives to jail or prison time and fines. These alternative sentences often include probation, community service, drug counseling or other measures that keep accused people out of jail.