As you probably know, the Sunshine State has some of the country’s toughest drug laws. If a judge or jury finds you guilty of possessing or distributing a controlled substance, you may lose your freedom and pay a steep fine. You also are likely to have a criminal record for the rest of your life.
You may not realize, though, that it is possible to face drug charges without having any drugs at all. That is, simply having items that have an association with drugs may expose you to criminal prosecution. Consequently, you should know what Florida law has to say about drug paraphernalia.
What is drug paraphernalia?
According to Section 893.145 of the Florida Statutes, drug paraphernalia can be virtually anything, including ordinary household items. More specifically, paraphernalia is anything you can use to consume, manufacture, package, test, analyze or distribute illegal drugs.
What are the consequences of possessing paraphernalia?
Typically, the possession of drug paraphernalia is a top-level misdemeanor. Even though prosecutors may not file felony charges, a conviction for a first-degree misdemeanor may come with up to a year in jail. You also may have to pay a $1,000 fine.
Still, it is not uncommon for a conviction for a standalone paraphernalia conviction to lead to a lesser punishment, such as probation. If a judge sentences you to probation for possession of drug paraphernalia, you may have to under regular drug screenings and comply with a number of other terms.
Ultimately, if you fail to follow precise instructions during your probation, you may have to explain to a judge why you should not go to jail.