Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

While many people are aware that controlled substances are prohibited in Texas, it is important to understand that many of the devices that are used to consume or manufacture illegal drugs—also known as drug paraphernalia—are also illegal.

Drug paraphernalia is defined under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.002(17) as “equipment, a product, or material that is used or intended for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, or concealing a controlled substance in violation of this chapter or in injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter.”

In certain cases, people may be arrested for alleged possession of drug paraphernalia when the object in question is an ordinary household good, such as a spoon or plastic baggie. While drug paraphernalia charges are often filed in conjunction with some kind of drug possession charges, a person can still be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia even if police officers do not find any actual controlled substances.

Lawyer for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Arrests in Brownsville, TX

If you were arrested for allegedly possessing some kind of drug paraphernalia anywhere in South Texas, it will be in your best interest to quickly retain legal counsel. Contact The Gracia Law Firm as soon as possible.

Jonathan Gracia is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Brownsville who defends accused of various drug offenses in Cameron County, Hidalgo County, and Willacy County. You can have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (956) 504-2211 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Crimes in Cameron County


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Texas Drug Paraphernalia Definitions

Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.002(17) includes the following in the definition of the term drug paraphernalia:

  • A kit used or intended for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting a species of plant that is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance may be derived;
  • A material, compound, mixture, preparation, or kit used or intended for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing a controlled substance;
  • A conversion device used or intended for use in increasing the potency of a species of plant that is a controlled substance;
  • Testing equipment used or intended for use in identifying or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of a controlled substance;
  • A scale or balance used or intended for use in weighing or measuring a controlled substance;
  • A dilutant or adulterant, such as quinine hydrochloride, mannitol, inositol, nicotinamide, dextrose, lactose, or absorbent, blotter-type material, that is used or intended to be used to increase the amount or weight of or to transfer a controlled substance regardless of whether the dilutant or adulterant diminishes the efficacy of the controlled substance;
  • A separation gin or sifter used or intended for use in removing twigs and seeds from or in otherwise cleaning or refining marihuana;
  • A blender, bowl, container, spoon, or mixing device used or intended for use in compounding a controlled substance;
  • A capsule, balloon, envelope, or other container used or intended for use in packaging small quantities of a controlled substance;
  • A container or other object used or intended for use in storing or concealing a controlled substance; and
  • A hypodermic syringe, needle, or other object used or intended for use in parenterally injecting a controlled substance into the human body.

Drug paraphernalia also includes an object used or intended for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marihuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body, such as any of the following:

A metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipe with or without a screen, permanent screen, hashish head, or punctured metal bowl;

  • A water pipe;
  • A carburetion tube or device;
  • A smoking or carburetion mask;
  • A chamber pipe;
  • A carburetor pipe;
  • An electric pipe;
  • An air-driven pipe;
  • A chillum;
  • A bong; or
  • An ice pipe or chiller.

Evidentiary rules (rules of evidence) relating to drug paraphernalia are established under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.183. In considering whether an item is drug paraphernalia, a court or other authority must consider, in addition to all other logically relevant factors, and subject to rules of evidence, the following:

  • Statements by an owner or person in control of the object concerning its use;
  • The existence of any residue of a controlled substance on the object;
  • Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of an owner or other person in control of the object to deliver it to a person whom the person knows or should reasonably know intends to use the object to facilitate a violation of this chapter;
  • Oral or written instructions provided with the object concerning its use;
  • Descriptive material accompanying the object that explains or depicts its use;
  • The manner in which the object is displayed for sale;
  • Whether the owner or person in control of the object is a supplier of similar or related items to the community, such as a licensed distributor or dealer of tobacco products;
  • Direct or circumstantial evidence of the ratio of sales of the object to the total sales of the business enterprise;
  • The existence and scope of uses for the object in the community;
  • The physical design characteristics of the item; and
  • Expert testimony concerning the item's use.

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Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Penalties in Brownsville

Under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.125(a), a person commits a Class C misdemeanor if he or she knowingly or intentionally uses or possesses with intent to use drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, or conceal a controlled substance or to inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance. A conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.125(b) establishes that it is a Class A misdemeanor if an alleged offender knowingly or intentionally delivers, possesses with intent to deliver, or manufactures with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia knowing that the person who receives or who is intended to receive the drug paraphernalia intends that it be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, or conceal a controlled substance or to inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance. A conviction is punishable by a fine of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

Under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.125(c), a violation of Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.125(b) becomes a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000 if the alleged offender is 18 years of age or older and the person who receives or who is intended to receive the drug paraphernalia is younger than 18 years of age and at least three years younger than the alleged offender.


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Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Resources in Cameron County

Drug Paraphernalia Fast Facts | Department of Justice (DOJ) — View a brochure produced by the DOJ’s National Drug Intelligence Center. Learn more about where paraphernalia is sold, what is considered drug paraphernalia, and what paraphernalia looks like. You can also find information about types of paraphernalia and what drugs paraphernalia is commonly used for.

How to Open a Head Shop | Chron.com — As this Houston Chronicle articles notes, "head shops" are retail establishments that sell "paraphernalia related to smoking marijuana and marijuana culture," although many stores claim that they are selling their products strictly for tobacco use. People who are interested in selling paraphernalia such as pipes or bongs can learn more about some important considerations involved with opening a head shop. The article covers location, supply, and marketing concerns.


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The Gracia Law Firm | Brownsville Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Defense Attorney

Were you arrested in the Rio Grande Valley area for any kind of alleged drug paraphernalia possession offense? Do not say anything to authorities until you have contacted The Gracia Law Firm.

Brownsville criminal defense lawyer Jonathan Gracia represents individuals in Willacy County, Cameron County, and Hidalgo County. Call (956) 504-2211 or submit an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.



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