What is considered drug paraphernalia in Tennessee?
Many entirely legal items are often the basis for a charge of drug paraphernalia. Pipes for example, are perfectly legal to use to smoke tobacco – but not illegal drugs. Possession of that pipe in one situation may be legal while in another with other circumstances, may be a crime in Tennessee. Tennessee law sets out certain factors used to determine whether an object is drug paraphernalia.
Whether or not an object is drug paraphernalia is determined by these factors:
(1) Statements by the owner or anyone in control of the object concerning its use;
Example: An person admits the pipe found by the officer was used to smoke marijuana.
(2) Prior convictions, if any, of the owner or of anyone in control of the object for violation of any state or federal law relating to controlled substances or controlled substance analogues;
Example: An individual who has prior convictions for simple possession is found with a pipe and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. The defense that it was used for tobacco would be damaged by the defendant’s prior convictions for simple possession.
(3) The existence of any residue of controlled substances or controlled substance analogues on the object;
Example: Burned marijuana or crack residue contained in a pipe. Often, officers will also charge individuals with simple possession even if only residue provided the residue type can be determined.
(4) Instructions, oral or written, provided with the object concerning its use;
(5) Descriptive materials accompanying the object that explain or depict its use;
(6) The manner in which the object is displayed for sale; (Example: Bongs are often sold in tobacco shops however typically is made clear that their intended use is for tobacco, or hookah)
(7) The existence and scope of legitimate uses for the object in the community; and
(8) Expert testimony concerning its use.
The possession of drug paraphernalia in Tennessee is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months, 29 days in jail. Any drug conviction will have lasting effects on a person’s family and career.
If you have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in Tennessee, speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers today about your case.