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Drug paraphernalia laws in North Carolina: More serious than you think

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2024 | Firm News

What do you think of when you hear the term drug offenses? You might think that it refers to the possession, use and sale of controlled substances. While not wrong, drug offenses can also refer to the possession and use of drug paraphernalia.

In North Carolina, the laws surrounding drug paraphernalia are stringent and carry consequences that might surprise you.

What is drug paraphernalia?

As defined by North Carolina law, drug paraphernalia is defined as any equipment, product, or material that is used or intended for use in a variety of drug-related activities. These activities include:

  • Cultivating or growing
  • Harvesting
  • Manufacturing
  • Converting
  • Producing
  • Processing
  • Preparing
  • Testing
  • Analyzing
  • Packaging
  • Repackaging
  • Storing
  • Containing
  • Concealing
  • Ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body

Some of the more common drug paraphernalia includes items specifically designed for the cultivation, production, and consumption of controlled substances. These include pipes, rolling papers, and bongs. But prosecutors can also label some everyday household items as paraphernalia if there’s evidence of drug-related use, such as belts, small spoons, toothpicks and so on.

The legal consequences

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina. On conviction, this leads to jail time of up to 120 days and a fine determined by the court. A convicted person may also be put on probation and a court can order them to perform community service.

A convicted person also gets a misdemeanor on their criminal record. Even a misdemeanor on record can hurt a person’s future educational, career and housing opportunities.

Understanding your rights when it comes to drug paraphernalia is crucial. If you’re facing charges, seeking legal counsel familiar with North Carolina’s drug laws is essential. Remember, the implications of a paraphernalia charge can affect various aspects of your life.