By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Texas is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by fine of $500. It is a lower charge than possession of marijuana (or anything else for that matter under Chapter 481 of the Texas Health & Safety Code), but the charge is completely harmless. It still looks pretty bad on your record if you don’t deal with it properly.
Drug Paraphernalia is defined as “equipment, a product, or material that is used or intended for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, or concealing a controlled substance in violation of this chapter or in injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance…”
As you can see the definition is extremely broad and gives police and prosecutors tons of discretion in charging you. Just because police or prosecutors decide something like a baggie or a clip of some sort is “paraphernalia” doesn’t mean a jury has to accept it.
Drug paraphernalia charges are often made in conjunction with other arrests for marijuana or cocaine. Mishandling the paraphernalia charge can actually ruin your chances for expunction (or clearing your record) of the bigger charges. Also, pleading guilty to paraphernalia can sour your ability to non-disclose a prior arrest even after you’ve successfully completed deferred adjudication.
Like drug cases, paraphernalia cases have common issues with search and seizure as swell as possession under 1.07(39) of the Penal Code being “actual care custody control or management.”
Ultimately paraphernalia cases have a good chance of being expungable but they do have to be handled with knowledge and skill.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any situation you should consult an attorney directly