Posted on May 10, 2024 in Criminal Defense

People who are accused of possessing or distributing drugs will often face criminal charges related to these substances. However, there are some cases when criminal charges may also apply to items that are related to drugs, even if no drugs are found.

Under Wisconsin law, the possession of drug paraphernalia is a criminal offense, and more serious charges usually apply if a person is accused of selling or distributing paraphernalia to others. Understanding what constitutes drug paraphernalia and the implications of distributing these items is crucial for those who may face these types of charges.

An experienced attorney can provide legal help for those who are facing charges related to drug paraphernalia, offering guidance on the best defense strategies that may limit the consequences.

What Qualifies as Drug Paraphernalia?

Drug paraphernalia includes any equipment, products, or materials that are primarily intended or designed to be used for manufacturing, compounding, harvesting, processing, testing, preparing, packaging, storing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise using a controlled substance. Examples of items typically considered drug paraphernalia include:

  • Pipes made from glass, metal, ceramic, or other materials
  • Bongs or water pipes
  • Rolling papers
  • Roach clips
  • Cocaine spoons and vials
  • Lab equipment used for synthesizing drugs
  • Equipment used to grow or propagate plants used to derive drugs
  • Scales and balances used for weighing or measuring drugs
  • Testing equipment used to analyze the potency of drugs
  • Bowls, spoons, blenders, or other mixing devices used to compound drugs
  • Dilutants used for “cutting” drugs
  • Capsules, envelopes, or balloons used to package small quantities of drugs

The distinction between everyday items and drug paraphernalia often hinges on the items’ proximity to drug offenses, the presence of drug residue, the way items were displayed for sale, the instructions provided on the use of paraphernalia, and statements from the possessor or other parties.

Activities Leading to Charges of Distributing Drug Paraphernalia

Distributing drug paraphernalia involves selling or delivering items to others knowing that they will be used to grow, harvest, manufacture, produce, package, or use controlled substances. Activities that could lead to charges include:

  • Selling pipes at a retail store with the knowledge that they will be used to consume illegal drugs
  • Offering items like bongs or rolling papers online while promoting their use in relation to illegal substances
  • Delivering growing equipment and providing instructions on how to use it to grow and harvest marijuana
  • Delivering lab equipment with the understanding that it will be used to manufacture methamphetamine

Penalties for Distributing Drug Paraphernalia in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the distribution of drug paraphernalia is a criminal offense, and in most cases, it can be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a sentence of up to three months in jail. Distribution of paraphernalia used to manufacture or distribute methamphetamine is a Class H felony, and if convicted, a person could be sentenced to up to six years in prison and fined up to $10,000.

Charges for distributing drug paraphernalia are more serious if the items in question were delivered to a minor. If a person over the age of 17 delivered drug paraphernalia to a minor under the age of 17, and there was at least a three-year age gap between the two parties, the alleged offender may be sentenced to up to nine months in jail, fined up to $10,000, or both. If a person over the age of 17 delivered drug paraphernalia related to the production or consumption of methamphetamines to a minor under the age of 17, the alleged offender may be charged with a Class G felony, and they could face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.

Contact Our Milwaukee Drug Paraphernalia Charges Defense Attorneys

For those who have been charged with offenses involving drug paraphernalia, it is crucial to secure representation from an experienced Milwaukee, WI drug crimes defense lawyer. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our attorneys have experience with the nuances of Wisconsin law that affect cases involving controlled substances or drug paraphernalia.

We can help present a strong, evidence-backed defense while working to minimize the potential penalties that may apply for a person who is accused of distributing drug paraphernalia. Contact us at 414-271-1440 for a consultation and to discuss your legal options.