Previously, we discussed the laws and charges regarding the possession of marijuana in Auburn. And while it may seem obvious, it is important to note that the mere possession of marijuana related paraphernalia is also a crime. In this article, we’ll review drug paraphernalia charges in Auburn, including the penalites if you are caught.
How Do Most Auburn University Students get Caught?
Beware of the grinder! Lately, most of the students that get charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia are charged with possession of a grinder. The grinder is a device used to grind marijuana into a smokable form. For some reason, students travel around Auburn University with the grinder in their car. Most often, they do not clean all of the marijuana residue out so when a police officer finds the paraphernalia he also finds a small amount of marijuana “shake” inside the grinder. The student is then charged with both possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana second. When an officer approaches the car, they not only are trying to see if the driver has a driver’s license and registration, but they are also checking for the presence of alcohol and the smell of marijuana. Officers are very perceptive of the smell of “green“ marijuana and its odor is likely to initiate the search of the vehicle. The laws regarding the possession of drug paraphernalia in Alabama are outlined below.
Drug Paraphernalia: Alabama Code § 13A-12-260
Alabama Code § 13A-12-260 defines drug paraphernalia as:
“all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use, in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing… or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of controlled substance laws of this state.”
This definition covers a variety of materials, including: any variety of pipe (water pipes, vape pens, bongs, etc.), any item used to store or measure illicit materials (grinders, scales, testing equipment), and many more less conspicuous items. Now, it’s true that some of the objects listed can be possessed without illicit intentions, so the statute also lists the factors used in determining whether an object is truly “drug paraphernalia.” These factors include, among others: Statements made by anyone involved with the object at hand, their prior convictions relating to controlled substances, the existence of controlled substance residue on the object, and proximity “in time and space” to controlled substances or other violations of the statute.
Penalties for Drug Paraphernalia Charges in Alabama
The penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia, like those of marijuana possession, vary in degree depending on the circumstances. If the charge is a first-time offense, it will be a class A misdemeanor, a crime with penalties of up to a year in jail and fines.
Penalties for Cultivation, Sale, and Trafficking of Marijuana in Alabama
According to Alabama Code § 13A-12-231, any person who “knowingly sells, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state… in excess of one kilo or 2.2 pounds of any part of the genus cannabis” is guilty of a felony known as “trafficking in cannabis.” The penalties for trafficking are much harsher than those for possession and include a mandatory prison sentence (along with fines) dependent on the amount of marijuana involved, ranging from three years in prison and $25,000 in fines to a life sentence without parole.
How Are You Likely to Be Caught with Marijuana in Alabama?
Despite the changing reputation of marijuana in the United States, police officers in Alabama will not simply let it slide if you are found with any amount of marijuana. Even slight specks of unused marijuana or minor residue on paraphernalia are likely to be discovered if these objects are on your person at the time of contact with police. As usual, the best way to avoid marijuana charges is to avoid drug use entirely, but if you have been charged with any marijuana-related offense, immediately seek the counsel of a qualified criminal defense attorney with experience in drug related cases. Attorney Jeff Tickal has considerable experience within this realm, especially with Auburn students, and has the local knowledge required to successfully defend your case in the Auburn Municipal Court system.
If you have any further questions, contact us (334) 737-3733.