If you were arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia in Clark County or throughout the greater Las Vegas area, then contact criminal defense attorney James C. Gallo for a free consultation. Possession of drug paraphernalia under NRS 453.554 is considered a misdemeanor under Nevada law that carries a potential penalty of up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
The majority of arrests for possession of drug paraphernalia in Clark County, Nevada, occur in four separate jurisdictions including: the City of Las Vegas, the City of North Las Vegas, the City of Henderson, and the Clark County Township. The prosecution and defense of these cases vary greatly between these jurisdictions.
Mr. Gallo is experienced in representing clients charged with drug paraphernalia charges throughout all of Clark County including the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and Mesquite. Call (702) 385-3131 today to speak to an attorney experienced in fighting these charges.
Information on Paraphernalia Charges
- What is Drug Paraphernalia?
- Constitutionality of the Drug Paraphernalia Statute
- Finding a Las Vegas Attorney for Drug Paraphernalia
What is Drug Paraphernalia?
Drug paraphernalia most commonly includes marijuana pipes or bongs, rolling papers, or scales. The statute encompasses a wide range of items used to carry or uses controlled substances. The statute defines “drug paraphernalia” to include “all equipment, products, and materials which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in” introducing into the human body a controlled substance. Drug paraphernalia includes items used to:
- plant; or
The statute also explicitly finds that the term does NOT include any type of device or implement intended or capable of being adapted for the purpose of administering drugs by intravenous, intramuscular or subcutaneous injection such as a subcutaneous, instrument, needle or hypodermic syringe.
The statutory scheme defines the term “drug paraphernalia” to specifically include the following items: separation sifters and gins, adulterants and diluents, testing equipment, scales and balances, envelopes, balloons, capsules, isomerization, kits, containers, spoons, mixing devices, bowls, blenders, pipes (ceramic, pipes, plastic, stone, glass, acrylic, wooden, and metal).
The definition as set out in the statute also includes objects use to ingest or inhale marijuana, cocaine, hashish or hashish oil into the human body, such as: ice pipes or chillers, bongs, chillums, air-driven pipes, electric pipes, chamber pipes, carburetor pipes and carburetion tubes and devices, cocaine spoons and cocaine vials, roach clips (which are objects used to hold burning material, such as a marijuana cigarette, that has become too small or too short to be held in the hand), smoking masks, and water pipes.
Factors for Identifying Drug Paraphernalia
Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, the courts and the defense will use the following factors set out the in the statute to determine whether or not a particular item should be included within the definition of drug paraphernalia:
- Expert testimony concerning the use of the item;
- Direct or circumstantial evidence of the ratio of sales of the object to the total sales of the business enterprise;
- The manner in which the object is displayed for sale;
- National and local advertising concerning its use;
- Descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict its use;
- Instructions, oral or written, provided with the object concerning its use;
- Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of any owner, or of anyone in control of the object, to deliver it to persons whom he or she knows, or should reasonably know, intend to use the object to facilitate a violation of this chapter;
- The existence of any residue of controlled substances on the object;
- The proximity of the object to controlled substances;
- The proximity of the object, in time and space, to a direct violation of this chapter;
- Prior convictions, if any, of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, under any state or federal law relating to any controlled substance;
- Statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object concerning its use;
Constitutionality of the Drug Paraphernalia Statute
The Nevada statute for drug paraphernalia possession has withstood numerous attacks alleging that it is unconstitutionally vague. The courts have noted that the federal version of the statute was not unconstitutional.
In Posters ‘N' Things, Ltd. v. United States, 511 U.S. 513, 525–26 (1994), the United States Supreme Court concluded that the federal statute prohibiting the possession of drug paraphernalia, 21 U.S.C. § 857 (current version at 21 U.S.C. § 863 (1990)), was not unconstitutionally vague. The court held that the statute provided “clear guidelines as to prohibited conduct” by listing items that “constitute[d] per se drug paraphernalia.” Id. at 525. It farther “minimize[d] the possibility of arbitrary enforcement and assist[ed] in defining the sphere of prohibited conduct under the statute” by listing factors “for assessing whether items constitute drug paraphernalia.” Id. at 526. Lastly, the Supreme Court recognized that the scienter requirement that it inferred in § 857 also “assists in avoiding any vagueness problem.” Id.
The courts in Nevada have also concluded that the Nevada statute is not unconstitutionally vague because it also provides sufficient notice of what conduct is prohibited, it has a scienter requirement and it contains sufficient standards to complete arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement. See Buckles v. First Judicial Dist. of State, ex rel. Cnty. of Carson City, No. 65882 (Nev. Sept. 18, 2014).
Even though the statute has been found to be constitutional on its face, additional challenges could be brought to argue that the application of the statute to the particular facts of your case is unconstitutional.
Additional Resources on Drug Paraphernalia
NRS 453.554 “Drug paraphernalia” defined - Visit the website for the Nevada legislature to find the full statutory language for all of the drugs statutes in Nevada including the statutes defining the term “drug paraphernalia,” setting the factors for identifying an object as an item of drug paraphernalia, injunctions, and penalties for the unlawful sale, delivery, possession or trafficking of drug paraphernalia. Also find the enhanced penalties that apply to the sale or distribution of drug paraphernalia to a child.
NRS 453.560 - Unlawful delivery, sale, possession or manufacture - Under NRS 453.560, the sale of paraphernalia (as well as the unlawful delivery or manufacture) can be charged as a category E felony. Also find information on unlawful delivery to a minor child under NRS 453.562 which prohibits a person from unlawfully delivering drug paraphernalia to a minor. Delivery of drug paraphernalia is a category C felony. A person convicted of the offense may also be required to pay “any reasonable costs” for the minor to participate in a drug treatment program as restitution.
Fast Facts on Drug Paraphernalia - Visit the website of the United States Department of Justice to find more information from the National Drug Intelligence Center on illicit drugs and paraphernalia used to consume drugs. The .pdf file has pictures of different types of drug paraphernalia.
Finding a Las Vegas Attorney for Drug Paraphernalia
If you were arrested for possession of marijuana or possession of a controlled substance, or misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Gallo Law Office. James C. Gallo is experienced in filing and litigating motions to dismiss for insufficient evidence and motions to suppress evidence for unlawful searches.
Call today to find out what potential defenses might exist in your case. Mr. Gallo is experienced in representing clients charged with drug paraphernalia possession throughout all of Clark County including the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and Mesquite. Call (702) 385-3131 today.