Under New Jersey law, drug paraphernalia has quite a broad definition. Essentially, anything that can be used to assist, and are intended to be used, to plant, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, produce, process, prepare, test, package, store, conceal or use drugs is considered paraphernalia. This means that items as innocuous as bowls, blenders and spoons can be considered drug paraphernalia so long as the authorities can show that those items were intended to be used with drugs in some way. Of course other items such as bongs, pipes and syringes will likely be considered paraphernalia if found by the police.
However, when an individual faces arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia, he or she will have to go before a judge, who will ultimately decide if the items in question are truly paraphernalia. To make this determination, a judge may consider several factors. Amongst these factors are any statements made by the person possessing the object in question, the proximity of the object to any illegal drugs, any trace evidence or drug residue on the item, evidence of the owner’s intent and whether any directions were included with the object showing how it is to be used.
Understanding what qualifies as drug paraphernalia is important, because the penalties can still carry serious consequences. A criminal conviction could land an individual in prison for months, and he or she may be subjected to a hefty fine that could take quite a while to pay off. Additionally, a conviction will likely remain on an individual’s record for a long time, making it difficult for him or her to obtain a job or housing.
As can be seen by the definition of drug paraphernalia, law enforcement is very aggressive when it comes to cracking down on drugs and drug-related items. Therefore, accused individuals may want to speak with an attorney to figure out how best to challenge the allegations of wrongdoing.
Source: New Jersey State Legislature, “2C:36-1,” accessed on Aug. 23, 2015