Since they made marijuana legal for recreational use in Nevada, everything’s cool right? Well, no, actually. If you’re a resident of Nevada and have a private place to consume the product, its probably all cool, but if you’re one of the 40 million visitors who come to Las Vegas yearly, there’s still lots of ways to get in trouble over drug use, even legal drug use, in Nevada.
Still on the books after the legalization of weed for recreational use, are state laws having to do with paraphernalia, that is, those things, devices, pipes, inhalers, which allow you to grow or ingest the product. (NRS 453.554) And let’s face it, not all paraphernalia is associated with marijuana use. Many items of paraphernalia can be used to grow or ingest other drugs. A Las Vegas local can just as easily be charged with possessing paraphernalia as a tourist, if they’re found carrying the device in public.
What is the law on drug paraphernalia?
Nevada law defines paraphernalia as: “all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter.” (NRS 453.554) The chapter goes on to itemize several items which can be considered paraphernalia under the law. These include water pipes, smoking masks, roach clips, cocaine spoons and vials, pipes of all sorts including bongs, ice pipes and chillers. Also included as paraphernalia are items used to grow plants which are either controlled substances, or who’s product is a controlled substance. The term paraphernalia, however, does not apply to hypodermic syringes, or needles or any device capable of administering controlled substances subcutaneously, intramuscularly, or intravenously.
Yes, the definition is broad so that almost any item used with a controlled substance can be considered paraphernalia. Completely legal items such as plastic bags used to store or transport the drug, or jars used for storing the substance, can be considered paraphernalia if it can be proved that the item was used for that purpose. This is important because a paraphernalia conviction is considered a Misdemeanor, and the penalty is up to 6 months in county jail, and/or up to $1,000 in fines. While this is more than most people want on their records it is not as severe as the drug charges themselves. Chances are however, that this charge will be added to any other charge, such as possession of a controlled substance, that is applicable.
Factors courts consider when identifying an object as paraphernalia
The law does allow the courts many factors to consider when identifying an object as paraphernalia. The court will consider: statements by the owner or person in control of the object concerning its use, prior convictions of such a person, the proximity of the object to a direct violation of the drug laws, the proximity of a device to a controlled substance, existence of residue on the object, and other factors, such as expert testimony as to an object’s use.
Is there a defense against such charges?
Depending on the totality of the charges, yes. Chances are the paraphernalia charge is one of several charges that you may be facing if found with drugs and paraphernalia. Each case is different, but your attorney may negotiate the paraphernalia charge with the prosecutor in favor of another charge you may be facing. The next question is how did the device come into your possession? Was it planted by police or someone else in your party? Your attorney will tailor your defense based on the total number of charges your facing.
The Defenders defends against possession of paraphernalia charges
The lawyer of The Defenders will aggressively defend your rights in criminal cases. If you have been charged with the Nevada crime of Possession of Paraphernalia, or other drug related charges, you should have a lawyer representing you. The Defenders will structure a defense which will protect your rights. Call our office today to discuss your potential case at (702) 333-3333.