When most people think about drug laws they think in terms of being arrested for possessing a controlled substance, growing a controlled substance, or even trying to sell one. What many people do not realize is that you can be arrested for being in possession of “paraphernalia” in Florida as well. What’s worse, you may think you know what “paraphernalia” includes and, therefore, you have nothing to worry about — but you might be wrong. Florida has a very broad definition of “paraphernalia” that includes items you may not realize are potentially illegal. One question that is often asked is “Can I be arrested for having a pipe in Florida?” The answer lies in the Florida statutes.
Florida Statute 893.145 defines “paraphernalia” as:
“The term “drug paraphernalia” means 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, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, transporting, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter or s. 877.111.”
As you can see, numerous items commonly found around your home or vehicle could fit within the definition of “paraphernalia” according to Florida law. The statute does go on to provide a number of specific examples of items that could be included within the definition, including:
- Chamber pipes
- Carburetor pipes
- Electric pipes
- Air-driven pipes
The simple answer to the question regarding whether or not you can be arrested for having a pipe on you in Florida is “yes.” You could be arrested and charged with a criminal offense simply for being in possession of a pipe in the state of Florida. Possession of “paraphernalia” in Florida is a first-degree misdemeanor. The important thing to remember though is that being arrested for a crime and being convicted of a crime are not the same thing.
Although the police can arrest and charge you for possession of “paraphernalia” because you have a pipe on you in Florida, that does not mean you will be convicted. Numerous factors, such as the presence of residue on the pipe, proximity to a controlled substance, and statements made by you and/or an expert regarding the pipe’s use, may all be taken into account when determining if the pipe actually meets the legal definition of “paraphernalia” for purposes of a conviction.
If you are arrested for possession of “paraphernalia” you should contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your legal rights and options. Contact the criminal defense team at Powers Sellers & Finkelstein PLC by calling 727-531-2926 today to schedule your appointment.