Tennessee Laws Make It Illegal To Possess Drug Paraphernalia

Although unclear to some for a myriad of reasons including the existence of “head shops,” Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-425 makes it illegal for any person to have or be in the control drug paraphernalia of  drug paraphernalia that can used for the consumption of a controlled substance. Additionally, drugs do not necessarily have to be present in order for a person to receive a paraphernalia conviction under Tennessee laws. A person may be convicted of the crime of possession of drug paraphernalia if the prosecution proves that the person used or possessed with the intent to use drug paraphernalia in order to:

Plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body” a controlled substance.

What Is Considered Drug Paraphernalia?

In Tennessee, drug paraphernalia refers to all equipment, products and materials of any kind that are used to either make or take a drug like bongs, pipes, and syringes. Other items sold legally like rolling papers, soft drink cans, spoons, and pill crushers may also be considered drug paraphernalia in certain circumstances. Often a person who is caught with drug paraphernalia will also be in the possession of illegal drugs, as such possession of drug paraphernalia is a likely charge in addition to the charge for possessing drugs.

What Is The Penalty For Possessing Drug Paraphernalia?

A conviction for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia for personal use in Tennessee is a Class A Misdemeanor and may result in some or all of the following penalties:

  • A sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days in jail
  • A probationary period
  • A fine of up to $2,500.00
  • Court costs

Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-428 specifies mandatory minimum fines for a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia conviction that depend upon the number of prior convictions for this offense:

  • 1st conviction – $150.00 fine
  • 2nd or subsequent conviction – $250.00 fine

A drug paraphernalia charge should be taken seriously.  Many employers have anti-drug policies that prohibit the employment or hiring of anyone who has a drug offense.  In addition, federal student aid can also be denied to those who have a drug related conviction on their record.  If you have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia or any other drug related offense you should seek the services of an experienced, competent criminal defense attorney. Contact Donna Wagner to schedule a consultation.

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