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Laws on Possession of Paraphernalia in Indiana 

When someone is charged with the possession of paraphernalia in Indiana, it means that they have been found in possession of items that are used to consume (or to facilitate the consumption of) illegal drugs or other controlled substances. Some common examples of paraphernalia include bongs, pipes, and syringes. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that you can be charged with possession of paraphernalia in Indiana without being found in possession of a controlled substance. So, even if a person has no drugs on them at the time of their arrest, law enforcement can still charge them with a crime for possessing an item that is commonly associated with drug use.  

Indiana drug laws can be complicated to understand, especially when it comes to the more specific elements of the law. Therefore, if you have questions about the possession of paraphernalia or other drug laws, it’s best to consult with an experienced Indiana drug crimes attorney. If you’d like to speak with one today, feel free to call Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. 

Indiana Drug Crime Attorneys

Indiana Code on Possession of Paraphernalia 

The section of Indiana code on possession of paraphernalia can be found in Indiana Code 35-48-4-8.3. This law specifically states that a person who knowingly and intentionally possesses an instrument, device, or other object that the person intends to use for (1) introducing into the person’s body a controlled substance; (2) testing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of a controlled substance; or (3) enhancing the effect of a controlled substance. However, it’s important to note that the law does explicitly state that a person cannot be charged with possession of paraphernalia for being in possession of rolling papers.  

If a person is found to be in violation of this, they will face charges of a Class C misdemeanor. In addition, the charge of possession of paraphernalia in Indiana can be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor if the person has a prior, unrelated judgment or conviction under this section of law.  

Furthermore, it is important to understand that charges of possession of paraphernalia in Indiana are often placed on a person alongside other, related drug charges, such as possession of controlled substances, drug dealing in Indiana, or operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. Under circumstances like these, an offender’s potential penalties could be much more serious.  

If you’re currently facing drug charges, it would be wise to consult a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Indiana to better understand which statutes apply to your specific case. They can help you figure out which enhancing circumstances may apply and assist you in determining the best defense strategy aimed at minimizing your potential penalties.  

Offenses Related to Possession of Paraphernalia in Indiana 

There are several crimes that are often charged in conjunction with possession of paraphernalia in Indiana. Some of these related offenses include: 

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance: Indiana Code 35-48-4-6 makes it illegal to possess cocaine or a narcotic drug (like opioids) without a valid prescription. This is a much more serious offense than possession of drug paraphernalia and can result in more severe penalties, including significant fines and potential jail time. 
  • Possession of Methamphetamine: Indiana Code 35-48-4-6.1 makes it illegal to possess methamphetamine without a valid prescription. Again, this is a very serious criminal offense, especially when compared with the mere possession of drug paraphernalia. If found guilty of this crime, the offender would face harsh penalties, including significant fines and potential jail time. 
  • Possession of Marijuana, Hash Oil, Hashish, or Salvia: Indiana Code 35-48-4-11 makes it illegal to possess marijuana, hash oil, hashish, or Salvia. While this isn’t as serious of an offense as the previous two offenses, it does carry similar charges to the possession of paraphernalia in Indiana. Therefore, if stacked together, an offender could incur significant fines and may face potential jail time. 
  • Dealing in Paraphernalia: Indiana Code 35-48-4-8.5 makes it illegal to manufacture, deliver, or possess with the intent to deliver drug paraphernalia. This offense is similar to the possession of drug paraphernalia but involves the sale or distribution of paraphernalia rather than mere possession. 
  • Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated: Per Indiana Code 9-30-5, it illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This offense is often charged in conjunction with possession of drug paraphernalia if an individual is found to be operating a vehicle while intoxicated and in the possession of items used to consume drugs.  

Given this, it would be wise to consult a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Indiana to better understand which statutes apply to your specific case. They can help you figure out which enhancing circumstances may apply, and assist you in determining the best defense strategy aimed at minimizing your potential penalties. To speak with an Indiana drug lawyer today, 317-857-0160 or complete Keffer Hirschauer LLP’s online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a member of our criminal defense team.  

Potential Penalties

The possession of paraphernalia in Indiana is considered to be, at its lowest level, a Class C misdemeanor. Per the Indiana sentencing guidelines, someone convicted of this crime would face between 0-60 days in prison and a fine of up to $500. Furthermore, if the person had been convicted under this statute in the past (meaning they have a previous conviction for the possession of paraphernalia), they are convicted would be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in them spending up to one year in prison and having to pay fines of up to $5,000.  

Indiana Sentencing Guidelines, as they related to the possession of paraphernalia in Indiana

Furthermore, it’s important to remember that the consequences of a criminal conviction don’t subside once an offender has completed their sentence. Instead, the mere presence of a past criminal record can create a variety of roadblocks that affect a person’s day-to-day life, impacting their ability to secure sound employment, much-needed loans, and adequate housing.  

However, thanks to the Indiana expungement, Hoosiers can request to seal the records related to most arrests, charges, or convictions. If granted, they can now move forward with their life without the added weight of their past mistakes. However, the process of sealing records is rather complex, so working alongside a skilled and experienced Indiana expungement attorney can be incredibly beneficial, especially when it comes to meeting the strict deadlines and requirements set forth in Indiana expungement law.   

If you’ve already served a criminal sentence for the possession of paraphernalia in Indiana, or any other crime for that matter, and would like to explore expungement, the Indianapolis attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are here to help you. Our team is vastly experienced when it comes to these types of petitions and routinely assists clients with confirming eligibility, gathering case records and court documents, researching criminal history, and preparing the expungement petition or petitions. We also are prepared to represent our clients in court. Finally, if the expungement is granted, we’ll even distribute notice of your expungement to all relevant state agencies.  

Ready to speak with an expungement lawyer in Indiana? Call 317-857-0160 or complete this online contact form to schedule a free consultation.   

Potential Defense Strategies

While every case is unique and therefore requires a different defense strategy, there are several common defense strategies that Indiana criminal defense attorneys use when defending someone charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in Indiana.  

  • Challenging the Search: One common defense strategy is to challenge the search that led to the discovery of the drug paraphernalia, given that Hoosiers are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by Indiana Constitution, Article I, Section 11. If successful, this could result in the suppression (exclusion) of evidence in the case.  
  • Arguing Lack of Knowledge: Another defense strategy is to argue that there is not enough evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant had knowledge and control over the illegal item or substance in question. You see, prosecutors will often aim to show that a defendant was in constructive possession of paraphernalia. This means that even though they did physically possess the paraphernalia, they did have control over it given that it was in their vehicle or residence, they knew of its existence, and had the ability to control it. However, if the evidence presented by the state does not meet this standard, a judge or jury may find that there is not enough proof to support a conviction for constructive possession. 
  • Asserting Lawful Use: Possessing drug paraphernalia for legal purposes, such as using a pipe to smoke tobacco is not illegal. Given this, a defense attorney may argue that the defendant was in possession of the paraphernalia for a lawful purpose. 
  • Pursuing a Plea Bargain: In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution. This could involve agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser offense or agreeing to certain conditions in exchange for reduced charges or a lighter sentence. 

Further Questions about the Possession of Paraphernalia? 

If you have further questions about the possession of paraphernalia in Indiana, or any drug crime for that matter, you can always contact the Indianapolis criminal defense firm of Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our team is made up of former deputy prosecutors who know both sides of the criminal justice system. Each attorney has a strong understanding of Indiana criminal code and can answer any questions about Indiana drug laws that you may have.  

Furthermore, our defense attorneys have the skills and expertise required to ably protect your rights and your freedoms. Plus, as former deputy prosecutors, they can offer a unique insight into how the prosecution may approach the case against you. To speak with an attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation .

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Laws on Possession of Paraphernalia in Indiana
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Laws on Possession of Paraphernalia in Indiana
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This article discusses the laws on possession of paraphernalia in Indiana, as well as the potential penalties associated with a conviction.
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Keffer Hirschauer LLP

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