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Understanding Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charges

drugs and paraphernalia on a table

Being charged with drug possession or possession of drug paraphernalia can result in serious consequences in South Carolina, such as imprisonment or substantial fines. If you are facing drug paraphernalia possession charges, it may be necessary to hire a drug defense lawyer to legally represent you and defend you against the charges.

Call our law firm at (864) 618-2323 today to schedule a free, initial consultation. Our Columbia drug crime lawyers will create a vigorous defense for your case, ensure that your rights are protected, and work towards minimizing or eliminating drug charge consequences.

What is Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?

Possession of drug paraphernalia is the act of holding or owning any equipment, product, or material that is intended to be used for the production, concealment, and consumption of illegal drugs. It can include items such as ice pipes, water pipes, cocaine vials, ceramic pipes, testing equipment, smoking and carburetion masks, roach clips, electric pipes, bongs, rolling papers, syringes, scales and balances, carburetor pipes, glass pipes, hashish heads, and miniature cocaine spoons. 

In accordance with South Carolina law, it is prohibited to possess any equipment, product, or material utilized in drug production. The court will assess whether the items found in your possession were genuinely utilized for the production, concealment, or consumption of illegal drugs.

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The court may utilize the following various methods to determine if the items in your possession are classified as illegal drug paraphernalia:

  • The court will conduct toxicology tests on the objects to determine the presence of drugs. If a scale, for example, that was in your possession shows evidence of heroin, it will be categorized as illegal paraphernalia.
  • Law enforcement may decide that you were in possession of the equipment due to your physical proximity to the illegal paraphernalia at the time of your arrest.
  • The court will conduct interviews with eyewitnesses regarding the use of specific items in your possession.

Types of Drug Paraphernalia

There are many types of drug paraphernalia. The items considered paraphernalia are different for each illegal drug because drugs are produced and consumed in different ways.

Some types of drug paraphernalia are clearly used only for the consumption of drugs, but other types of paraphernalia could be used as common household items such as a spoon or a kitchen scale. While these are perfectly legal to own they may cause lead to police performing more thorough searches if they have reason to be suspicious.

Marijuana Paraphernalia

Marijuana paraphernalia charges may be determined by the presence of the following certain items in your actual possession at the time of your arrest: 

  • Bong for smoking marijuana 
  • Rolling Papers
  • Pipes, and bowls
  • Bubbler
  • Grinders
  • Vaporizers and vape pens
  • Dab rigs

Heroin Paraphernalia

Possessing the following items could lead to a drug paraphernalia charge if it is found in your possession:

  • Small spoon
  • Needles
  • Tin foil
  • Pipes
  • Plastic pen case or cut-up drinking straw


If the following items were found in your possession at the time of your arrest, you could be charged with cocaine paraphernalia:

  • Straws or tubes
  • Crack pipes
  • Small mirrors
  • Small spoons
  • Razor blades

Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Having paraphernalia and illegal drugs could result in severe legal consequences, such as potential imprisonment. However, if you have possession of illegal paraphernalia but do not have drugs on your body, you may be able to avoid jail time. 

Having drug paraphernalia without illegal drugs is not considered a criminal offense in South Carolina, but rather a civil matter. If caught in this situation, there may be a fine of up to $500. However, businesses or corporations found with illegal paraphernalia may face a fine of up to $50,000.

It is important to note that being charged with possession of paraphernalia is considered a civil charge, not a criminal charge. However, it will be documented on your official record. If your previous criminal record is not a clean record, a new drug paraphernalia charge could cause more severe consequences. If you need a criminal defense attorney to help you fight your drug charges, don't hesitate to call the Touma Law Group today for a free consultation!

Possible Defenses to Charges of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

In South Carolina, possession of drug paraphernalia for illegal drugs is a serious crime. However, there are various strategies to combat paraphernalia charges, and the criminal defense attorneys at Touma Law Group are available to assist you in building a robust defense and representing you in court.

Reasonable Doubt

One of them is the concept of reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is a legal concept frequently used in criminal trials, where the prosecution must provide sufficient evidence to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction.

marijuana paraphernalia on a tray

In certain cases involving drug paraphernalia, reasonable doubt can be invoked as an argument because prosecutors are required to prove that the materials were being used to create illegal drugs. However, if there were no drugs in your possession, it could be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that that is what you were doing.

Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

Another defense that our lawyers could potentially utilize for your case is the legal concept of unreasonable searches and seizures. According to the court of law, the government is prohibited from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures.

This indicates that law enforcement officers require probable cause in order to conduct a search of an individual or their property. If the police conduct a search without a warrant or probable cause, these errors can be utilized as a defense. If this is relevant to your situation, our lawyers can provide a defense for your case if there is no reasonable suspicion for the search, even if you possess illegal paraphernalia.

Circumstantial Evidence 

Police can utilize circumstantial evidence to establish your possession of drug paraphernalia. If the court relied on circumstantial evidence to establish your guilt, our lawyers can develop a defense strategy for your case.

For example, some common, everyday items, such as spoons and bowls can also be used for smoking marijuana but are not typically considered “drug paraphernalia” under the law. To determine whether or not an item fits the definition of drug paraphernalia, the court often has to rely on the specific factors of your drug-related charge.

If the police have used circumstantial evidence to charge you with your crimes, our accomplished drug charges lawyer can help create a defense for you.

Call Touma Law Group Today and Speak to a Skilled Defense Attorney!

If you are facing a charge of drug possession or criminal charges related to drug paraphernalia, it is important to speak with a skilled and experienced Columbia defense lawyer. At Touma Law Group, we provide professional legal assistance for individuals facing such charges.

We understand the complexities of drug paraphernalia laws and can help you build a strong defense for your case. Call us today for a free consultation and case evaluation with one of our drug crime defense attorneys.

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