What does South Carolina law consider drug paraphernalia?

On Behalf of | Nov 24, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

Believe it or not, you do not have to possess any drugs to face a drug charge. The police could press charges based solely on some of the things you have lying about your house if they consider they are drug paraphernalia.

What does South Carolina law say?

South Carolina Code Section 44-53-110 (33) defines paraphernalia as, “Any instrument, device, article, or contrivance used, designed for use, or intended for use in ingesting, smoking, administering, manufacturing, or preparing a controlled substance.”

Does that mean I cannot have cigarette papers?

The code explicitly excludes both cigarette papers and tobacco pipes.

Can I be prosecuted for having a teaspoon?

Some people use teaspoons for cooking up heroin and other drugs. Yet almost everyone has teaspoons in their home. Owning one is not an offense in itself. However, if you have one with the remains of illegal substances on it, it could count against you. The state law has a whole list of objects which it considers paraphernalia. Still, it states that this does not prevent courts from considering other items as well.

What about syringes?

Like teaspoons, syringes are not explicitly mentioned on the list because they have various legitimate uses. However, there may be circumstances in which a court decides that you had a syringe with the intention of using it to take drugs. Again, if there are traces of a drug, it will not help your cause.

Is possessing paraphernalia a criminal offense?

The possession of paraphernalia is a civil offense, not a criminal one. However, the authorities can use it as evidence toward more serious criminal charges. For example, if you have paraphernalia that could be used for manufacturing cocaine, this alone may be enough to convict you of intent to manufacture, which is a criminal charge.

A prosecutor may try to use paraphernalia toward proving more serious criminal charges or as a way to increase the number of charges against you and the overall sentence. South Carolina drug laws are complex, and you will need experienced legal help to defend yourself.


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